Juventus are back in action tomorrow, this time in the Coppa Italia Round of 16 as they take in Sassuolo. Speaking to the media, coach Massimiliano Allegri stressed the importance of rotation especially among his forward trio of Paulo Dybala, Alvaro Morata and Dusan Vlahovic with a massive clash against Atalanta coming up this weekend.
“One of them could rest, I need to assess Vlahovic. Kaio Jorge could start the game, but we need to bear in mind that the match could still long with extra time and penalty shootout. There are five substitutions that will be important.
“Sassuolo play well technically, they lost the last game 4-0, so they’ll be looking for revenge. We need a serious performance which would help us to prepare for the match against Atalanta.”
Juve’s injury woes continue, with club captain Giorgio Chiellini out for some time with a calf injury. However, Leonardo Bonucci will make a long-awaited return.
“Everyone is available apart from Chiellini and Federico Bernardeschi, who should return on Friday. Moise Kean is suspended, and Bonucci and Mattia Perin will start tomorrow.
“I haven’t decided on the line-up yet, but the most important game is the next one, so we’ll field the best possible formation.
“Denis Zakaria feels well and has trained regularly. Kaio Jorge had the opportunity to join Sassuolo to get more playing time, but he decided to stay here. I am happy. He is improving and tomorrow, I will decide if he will start.”
The coach reiterated what his goals for the season are on all three fronts.
“The Coppa Italia is one of our targets. I am happy to be back and to be in the race for all the targets. The enthusiasm is back after the last game, but we can’t go too far. Too much confidence is not ok.
“Our target is to go as far as possible in the Champions League and finish in the top four. Atalanta are our director competitors. The other three [Milan, Napoli and Inter] are too far away. We need to work hard in every training and return to normal. Win a game, move on, focus on the next one.”
Former Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri, currently in charge at Lazio, had some interesting things to say about the competition, calling it the ‘one of the most unsporting tournaments in the world.’ What did Allegri have to say about his counterpart’s comments?
“I respect Maurizio, but as I always say, we play when we are asked to. I don’t make the rules and I don’t want to. Anything can happen, I respect Maurizio, but this has nothing to do with me. We just play games when we have to.”