Juventus continue their preseason preparation with a friendly game against Barcelona tomorrow in the Gamper Trophy. There was no pre-match press conference with Massimiliano Allegri, but the coach previewed the clash on the Juventus YouTube channel.
In response to how the squad was doing and who has impressed him so far, Allegri said -
“We’ve had a week with everyone training together, including the last ones back. They’ve trained well and are in good spirits.
“It’s the midway point (of the preseason) because we then have another friendly against Atalanta next Saturday before the season starts.
“There are lots of youngsters (who are doing well) - Kulusevski, De Ligt, De Winter and Ranocchia - they are proof of the good work done by our Academy. All of them are very willing to work and determined to win back the Scudetto.
“The youngsters have plenty of room for improvement. I’ve told them it depends entirely on their desire and ambition they have to improve and to be successful. We have a year to improve them individually so they can then help the team.”
What level of intensity does Allegri want tomorrow from his side?
“It’s a big match between two huge clubs. We have to take it seriously like Juventus do every match.
“It will be useful for me to assess the fitness of certain players, both those who arrived first and the more recent arrivals.”
Juve are playing in the Gamper Trophy for the first time in 16 years while Allegri has previously been part of the tournament in 2010 as the AC Milan coach. Is it the same as any other preseason friendly?
“Barcelona versus Juventus is always a special match and it certainly helps to raise your focus and get ready for the start of the season.”
With most teams playing against weaker opposition at this stage of the summer, what improvements would satisfy him tomorrow with a bigger squad at his disposal?
“First and foremost I’d like to see us playing as a team both when we have the ball and when we don’t. I also hope to see improvement from certain players because we’ll see a few - not experiments - but players in midfield positions that I want to take a look at tomorrow.
“Paulo Dybala won’t (play) because I’d rather he got another couple of days of training in him. He’s only just started training with the team, it would have been risky. I spoke to him and we agreed it would be better for him to stay here and train.
“The others will all be coming and they’ll all be involved, some more, some less.”
There has been plenty of speculation on what formation Allegri would go with to begin the new campaign.
“There’s no specific formation, it depends on the players I pick, however their positions are pretty much clear. I have just a couple of doubts and want to see if certain players can play in certain positions.
“It’s an excellent squad, they won a couple of trophies last year and qualified for the Champions League, and also reached the Champions League last 16. I have to build on the work done by Andrea Pirlo and try to improve what I have here. But to do that, we need to have a great work ethic.
“To achieve the goals we have for May - winning the Serie A, the Champions League, the Coppa Italia, and the Super Cup in December or January - we must be willing to roll up our sleeves every day. That’s part of Juventus DNA and it’s what will bring us results.”