Juventus go to Sampdoria this weekend looking to keep shipping away at the gap between them and the top three in the league. Napoli sit four points ahead of the Bianconeri, while Atalanta are now six points behind though they do have a game in hand.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, coach Massimiliano Allegri previewed a hectic few weeks upcoming before the next international break.
“It’s the decisive moment of the season, the next week is intense. Hopefully, it will be fun.
“Tomorrow we have Sampdoria, they won two games at home with Giampaolo, scoring six goals and conceding none. They have many goals in the first 15 minutes, so we’ll need the right approach, we need points to reach the top four.
“We have a lot of work to do. The teams up front will remain there and we can’t reach them. We must focus on ourselves. We have a week before the break. Hopefully, everyone will be available after that.”
While Allegri has a couple of players returning to the squad, Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Paulo Dybala remain out.
“I need to decide on the line-up. Luckily, Mattia De Sciglio and Alex Sandro are back, Juan Cuadrado is ok. Chiellini should be back on Sunday, so hopefully, he can return against Villarreal. Let’s try to see the glass half full, it’s the best thing.
“Danilo will play tomorrow. I think it will be his 100th game with Juventus. Cuadrado or Moise Kean will start in attack.”
The coach knows that the game tomorrow will be a challenge belying Sampdoria’s lowly standing in the table.
“Our target is to reach the top four. The season is long. Tomorrow we have Sampdoria. We need a positive result to continue our unbeaten run and cement the fourth spot.
“It’s always difficult to win at Marassi, Sampdoria are a different team at home, we must expect a complicated game. We must have the character to bring the result home tomorrow.”
Dusan Vlahovic has had an explosive start to his Juventus career.
“As for Vlahovic, I am happy. It was not easy to arrive at Juventus play every three days; there is more pressure here. We always play to win and every touch is decisive because it can make you win or lose.
“I spoke to him yesterday, I told him that he needs to be ‘cleaner’ in the game to raise his technical quality. He has just arrived from Fiorentina, so he needs time. The team spirit is good, but you are always on the brink in football.”
“See what happened the other night in the marvelous game between Real Madrid and PSG. It all seemed smooth, but in football, there are unexpected situations. The team must manage these moments; otherwise, they slide and get hurt. We haven’t won anything. We are not in the Champions League quarter-finals. We’ll see where we are on May 28th hopefully. Otherwise one week earlier.”
The coach was asked about an update on Paulo Dybala’s contract situation.
“Paulo is a 29-year-old man, a pro. Like other players, he must discuss his contract extension.
“He needs to go on the pitch and do his best, as he’s always done. He doesn’t need anything, he is 29. Right now, he is recovering from an injury and the team and I need him. He is a technical player who gives us quality. I need everyone and I need Paulo. I hope he can return on Wednesday.
“He is feeling better, he could be available for the Champions League, like Bonucci. We’ll make our assessments on Sunday after the match.”