Fresh off the disappointment of their latest Champions League debacle, Juventus return to league action with the consolation that they will still be playing in the Europa League next season. Sunday will see the latest episode of their bitter rivalry against Inter Milan in the Derby d’Italia, with the Nerazzuri doing enough in their group to pip Barcelona to a spot in the knockout rounds of the European showcase.
Speaking during his pre-match press conference, coach Massimiliano Allegri started with an injury update, with news that lead striker Dusan Vlahovic was not certain to start.
“Gleison Bremer and Angel Di Maria have recovered, but the only doubt is Vlahovic, because he still isn’t in good shape. We’ll see tomorrow morning how he is doing and then I will make a decision.
“If he’s alright, I’ll bring him on the bench, otherwise there’s no point calling up someone who can’t play.
“I don’t know if Leonardo Bonucci and Di Maria are ready to start, we’ll evaluate everything tomorrow morning.”
Vlahovic has a groin ailment, with Moise Kean, Leandro Paredes, Kaio Jorge, Samuel Iling-Junior, Mattia De Sciglio, Paul Pogba and Weston McKennie all still out. Federico Chiesa made his return after a ten-month layoff midweek against PSG.
“It was a pleasant surprise to see Chiesa doing so well, he will be at our disposal tomorrow. I have not yet decided on the line-up, it is going to be a different game to the one with PSG because Inter are a different type of opponent.
“This is an important match, it’s the Derby d’Italia and that always makes it special.”
Inter beat Juventus twice in knockout games, in the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa, last season.
“We will do everything possible to turn the tide, as last season we didn’t win any of our games with Inter. It won’t be easy, because Inter are a very strong team.
“A win would be important, but the campaign is long and there are many points up for grabs.”
While Juve still ended up losing against PSG on Wednesday, it was arguably their best game in the Champions League this season.
“We were more concentrated and calm within the game. While we lacked experienced players who should’ve been the pillars of the squad, we found some youngsters who we can rely on.”