Juventus play AC Milan on Sunday after finally getting things back on track in a comfortable 3-0 win over Malmo to kick off their Champions League group. However, manager Massimiliano Allegri still faces a big challenge on the domestic front as Juve are yet to win a game in the league and now take on the coach’s former side who are off to a 100% start in the Scudetto race.
“It’s one of the most important games of the season, perhaps the most important one. Milan have improved over the last two seasons, they’ve been playing together for almost three years.
“We are growing, we have good expectations, but it will be more important for them than for us. Milan played a great game in Liverpool, it wasn’t easy. It proves they have personality, it will be a great game tomorrow.”
On the squad front, Federico Chiesa is expected to miss the game while both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Olivier Giroud are out for the Rossoneri.
“I have one doubt in defence, one in midfield and one in attack. I will decide after tomorrow’s training session.
“Chiesa is one of the doubts I have. Right-winger is his natural role, if he plays as a striker, he needs a centre forward close to him. If he plays on the left, he can cut inside. He still needs to improve his reading of the game, he has important qualities, but he needs to improve in other areas.
“I was lucky enough to coach Ibra, he is still a crucial player. The game is important because it’s a Juventus-Milan game.”
Superagent Mino Raiola has been causing a ruckus again saying that he will be looking for a path out of Juve for young defender Matthijs de Ligt if he doesn’t get more playing time, but Allegri was not interested in listening to his drivel.
“There is a standard path for everybody, players and coaches. De Ligt is a young player with quality, but he still needs to improve and will stay many years at Juventus, regardless of how many games he plays.
“De Ligt is 22 years old. He is an excellent player. He joined Juventus from Ajax when he was only 20. After he arrived here, somebody wrote: ‘He is a future Ballon d’Or winner.’
“Guys, calm is needed. He is 20, but the Juventus jersey is a heavy one. Chiellini was probably not as good as De Ligt at his age, but at 27-28, he became a great player. It takes time.”
Fans have been expecting an immediate turnaround from the Bianconeri and it hasn’t quite happened yet.
“I’ve found a different Juventus. We can’t compare this Juventus with the team of the past. This team has its own identity. We must become a team, improving under many aspects, but it’s just a different Juventus.
“Five games are remaining before the break, everybody must feel important, whether they start or come off the bench.”
“We could have had more points, but this was not the case. We need to improve all together, I need to understand who can make an impact coming off the bench during the game, but the more we go ahead, the easier it is to understand my players.
“After the break, in November, we’ll make our assessments but I think we’ll be in a different position at that point. This is a very balanced league, without a top team that can win easily. It’s easy to lose points, but it can be easy to recover as well.
“For sure, we’ll play a great game tomorrow, then we can’t know the result already. The devil invented football and games can change very quickly. We need to be balanced, work hard have the desire and the ambition to improve.
“Juventus must play to win the title, not just single games. To do it, you must have consistency, work hard and be focused all the time.”