Juventus are back in action tomorrow taking on Udinese, and they will be looking to get the bad taste of the late, late Supercoppa loss out of their mouths.
Speaking during his pre-match press conference, coach Massimiliano Allegri wants to ensure his side are prepared for the game which should play out very differently than the one against Inter Milan.
“Tomorrow’s game will be very different from the one we played against Inter, Allegri said at a press conference.
“We’ll need patience, we’ll need to be accurate technically, trying to improve the results we have achieved so far against medium-small clubs.
“Inter are the best team in the league, they are the leaders, they are continuing what they did last season. Right now, they are the best, the next season we’ll see.”
Juventus owe their lowly position in the table due to dropping points in games against the so-called medium-small clubs, and Allegri understands that his side need to stop playing down to their opposition.
“Big games are always different from others. We need to do something different in games against the so-called smaller clubs. We were not the favourites against Inter, somebody had even predicted a big defeat for us.
“We should have done better in the decisive moment of the game, so after we took the lead. The team did well against a great Inter side, we are sorry for the defeat, but it doesn’t change my judgement on the team.”
The coach also provided a squad update -
“There will be changes tomorrow as we played 120 minutes two days ago. Luckily, everyone feels quite well except Danilo and Leonardo Bonucci who had a muscle problem and will return after the break.
“Luca Pellegrini is feeling ok and could start, Juan Cuadrado returns after a suspension. Mattia De Sciglio played a good game against Inter, same as Alex Sandro. It’s a pity for that defensive mistake because he had played well defensively. It can happen.
“Wojciech Szczesny will start and I have a doubt on Federico Bernardeschi and Dejan Kulusevski. Substitutions will be important. Matthijs De Ligt and Daniele Rugani will play at centre-back.”
Bonucci got into a touchline spat with an Inter official, are there concerns that he could be suspended?
“I’ve only been banned twice in my career. As for Leo, he will pay the fine, Juventus have always behaved respectfully towards referees. [Referee] Daniele Doveri’s performance was excellent against Inter.”
Allegri then jumped into a whole lot of transfer talk, with Arthur being linked with a move to Arsenal.
“I don’t want to repeat myself. We have to get to the end of the season with these players in the best possible way. This means trying to reach the top four and go ahead in the Champions League and Coppa Italia.”
What are Allegri’s thoughts on Paulo Dybala’s contract extension talks dragging on and on.
“As I’ve always said, the club is in charge of contracts and negotiations. It’s not up to me. But I’ve grown Dybala, he was a kid when he arrived here, now he has more experience and he is an extraordinary player.
“He had to deal with some injuries in the first part of the season and everyone expects a lot from him, in terms of goals and performances. The player’s worth is not under question. Paulo is a great player.”
How does Allegri continue to keep his side focused and motivated with the uncertain futures of a number of players?
“These situations are normal in football and work. The manager of a big company has the same commitment also when his contract is close to expiring. Football is based on the pitch. You need to go and prove your worth. Even if a player wants to leave, he has to play and deliver until the end of his contract.
“It’s very easy, if you don’t do well, you find a contract, at Juventus or anywhere else. It’s not that difficult. If you do well, you can decide what to do and this counts for everyone, coaches, players and directors. The only thing that matters is to do well on the pitch.
“Actually, if a contract is expiring, you have more strength. There are many players in this situation [in the world].
“Director Arrivabene said clearly that all assessments will be made in March-Apri. Wee must focus on the pitch and the club will do the rest.”
Tomorrow marks Allegri’s 300th game in charge of the Bianconeri, which one of those would he call his favourite?
“I didn’t even know that. I think the game against Real Madrid [in 2018] even if we were eliminated.
“There have been other extraordinary games, the one in Munich or against Tottenham in London. Hopefully, I can celebrate with a good result tomorrow.”