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Allegri: Malmo is a must-win for Juventus

Coach’s comments ahead of Champions League group stage opening game


Juventus kick off their Champions League campaign with a group game away in Sweden before the snow starts flying in Malmo. The Bianconeri are yet to find a win this season in league action, with four atrocious mistakes accounting for goals conceded that see them sitting above the Serie A basement with just one point in three games.

Coach Massimiliano Allegri is keeping a brave face about the start however, starting with the trip to Malmo.

“The situation now cannot be compared to the last game here. We have to win to lay the right foundations and to face the group in the best possible way.

“In football you can never predict what will happen, we must try to make the right things happen. At this moment in the League, it has not gone well, despite the fact that the team has behaved well.

“Tomorrow, we must be focused on the Champions League.”

Their Swedish opponents are renowned for being a big, bruising side and Allegri wants his side on their best discipline.

“Tomorrow it will be important to play a technical game and give away few set-pieces. They are a very physical team.

“The games must be faced with serenity and we must know what to improve regardless of the results. We have to keep working. In football, sometimes things that you don’t expect happen.”

Allegri confirmed that neither Federico Chiesa nor Federico Bernardeschi would travel to Sweden, but that his side had plenty of options in attack while confirming that Matthijs De Ligt would start tomorrow.

“We have many great players up front. Federico Chiesa was not 100 per cent, so we preferred not to risk losing him for a long time.

“Federico Bernardeschi took a hit on Saturday, nothing serious, but we didn’t want to risk it with him either.

“Dejan Kulusevski is a guy who has important qualities, he needs to improve in managing the game. I’ll decide tomorrow if he will start the game.”

He went on to stress the need for responsibility in his side to cut out the debilitating mistakes that were costing them points.

“We are all responsible and in these moments we need an even greater sense of responsibility. We have to improve in many things, even in managing the moments of the match and pay attention to the small details that make the difference.”

Expectations were pretty low for this Juve side after a quiet mercato, and Allegri revealed that his target for the Champions League was to make it to the quarter-finals.

“Juventus must set themselves the goal of entering the top eight every year in the Champions League. Then, from there, you always have to play it. We always have the desire to win.”

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny continues to receive a lot of heat after making mistake after mistake to continue what has been a miserable 2021 for him, but Allegri wants him to play through his issues.

“Szczesny is a top-level goalkeeper, and he will absolutely play tomorrow.”

Defender Leonardo Bonucci also stepped up in support of the Polish netminder.

“After Napoli, we only focused on training. Szczesny must feel comfortable and not give any importance to criticism.

“We must all stay focused on the pitch to ensure that this moment passes as quickly as possible.”