Juventus return to league action this weekend with a tricky trip to Empoli, having lost at home to the 13th placed side earlier this season. Speaking before the game, coach Massimiliano Allegri previewed Saturday’s game.
“Surely, it’s a game to win. We lost in the reverse fixture and it’s never easy to play at Empoli. We need to give continuity to our recent results. We need solid performance and recharge batteries, physically and mentally.
“Empoli have three offensive players, it’s difficult to play against them. They have no problems in the table, while we know that we must win tomorrow.”
Allegri could be short up to eight players tomorrow with all the injury concerns.
“We have enough players, some of the Under-23s are ready to play. Miretti, Soulé and Aké have been training with us lately, but with all these injuries, they’ll spend more time with us.
“I will make my assessment today. I need to see who feels well in defence. Leonardo Bonucci played 45 minutes in Spain and he was not expected to do so.
“We are sorry for McKennie. He is the only player with certain characteristics. Too bad for Kaio Jorge, who suffered a terrible injury. We are waiting for them and Chiesa. We’ll assess Bernardeschi, Rugani and Dybala, who could be, I repeat, could be, available against Fiorentina [on Wednesday]. Chiellini will remain out also next week. Alex Sandro won’t be available tomorrow.
“Tomorrow, Moise Kean could play, if he does, one between Vlahovic and Alvaro Morata will rest. Kean always has chances to score, so I am very serene.”
The last couple of draws pretty much torched any chance Juve would have of making a late run for the Scudetto.
“We are fighting on all fronts, even if the Scudetto is hard. Actually impossible. We are out of the title race, I think that 85 points will be enough to win the title and we can’t reach that.
“We have a Coppa Italia semi-final against Fiorentina and the Champions League against Villareal. At the moment, it’s a good season. Let’s see which trophies we can lift, it’s not easy to win every year.”
Would he see that he has seen some development in his side from the beginning of the season?
“The important thing is to improve, but we have to do more in some situations. We need to be better when we have the ball. The other day in Champions League, we managed the ball well in some situations, but some other times, we should have been more in control, especially when the opponents did not press much.”
A lot of Juve’s problems this season have been centered around scoring consistently.
“We made many mistakes in Spain and didn’t make the most of some opportunities. We have to improve, we had a few chances against Villarreal and we should have been more clear-headed in the final third.
“Villarreal played with a high defensive line. Vlahovic is scoring goals and I am happy with his Champions League debut as I am happy with how the team is working.
“We must understand the right moment to ‘kill’ the opponents. We were doing well against Villarreal, but then we conceded a goal because we were too naive. When you play at a high level, you can’t give your opponents the chance to get back in the game.”