Juventus take on Spezia in Turin tomorrow looking to maintain their hold on fourth spot in the Serie A league table. The Bianconeri can be excused for looking up at Napoli and AC Milan ahead of them just seven points ahead with the pair playing each other tomorrow in Sunday evening’s feature game.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri however wants his side to focus on tomorrow’s opponents first, with a rare week ahead with no midweek games.
“Spezia have won four away games, they are a team that plays and always leaves three players up front.
“They have technique, then the more you go on, the more points become heavy and the more difficult it is to win games. Tomorrow the stadium will be almost full, there will have to be a big boost from the fans too.”
Paulo Dybala appears to have had another injury setback, with Allegri provided an update on the whole squad starting with defender Daniele Rugani.
“He’ll be available tomorrow and will probably start. Regarding the injured players: Bonucci is out, we have to thank him because he played games where he wasn’t well.
“Alex Sandro is progressing well and I think I’ll have him for Villarreal, De Sciglio won’t be called up because of a knee problem he’s had for a while and we have to rest him tomorrow, Chiellini is still out, Bernardeschi is 100%.
“Dybala left yesterday’s training session early due to a pain in his flexor, he didn’t feel his leg was comfortable yet so he won’t be there tomorrow. He had a flexor problem.”
Regarding Dybala’s raft of injuries and contract extension talks, he added -
“If we had known we would have solved it. We’re evaluating all the things we’ve done, with the athletic directors and the doctors to understand how best to manage them. To understand what they can depend on, we’re doing it to try to understand as best we can.
“Technically, how can you discuss a player like Paulo. Then there are the contractual aspects that don’t depend on me, Paulo has been at Juventus for eight years and I think that’s indisputable.”
A threadbare Juventus came away from Fiorentina with a stolen win in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-finals on Wednesday.
“In Florence we played with confidence, suffering some situations on lost balls, we could have done better technically, but in that context we interpreted the game in the best way. You always have to understand the team’s momentum and the energy available.
“When you approach the end of the season, there is no recovery time, the points weigh more, we are also behind. You have to try in any way to get to the win and the guys are doing that, without being able to take rest.”
New signing Dusan Vlahovic might get a break tomorrow.
“We are recovering some and we also have the Under-23 boys, who are good. I’m also happy with the way I’m seeing Kean, mentally he’s calm.
“It would be a gamble to start Federico Bernardeschi. I’m thinking of starting Vlahovic from the bench, but I’ll decide tomorrow.”
The media keep insisting on getting soundbites from Allegri regarding the title race, but Allegri’s stance all along has been the same.
“The club’s thinking is to always fight for the biggest goal and we all agree. But there are numerical issues, which are the points and the league table. If Atalanta beat Toro, we’re fifth and the Scudetto quota, I repeat, is 84 (points).”
The coach also had encouraging words for veterans Danilo, Juan Cuadrado and Adrien Rabiot.
“Danilo has already played as a centre-back, he’s an intelligent and charismatic player. Right now everyone is making themselves available, because it’s too important a moment in the season and because if you win you’re all happy.
“Cuadrado was also decisive in Florence, I think he’s doing very well. Rabiot gives substance and physicality to the midfield.”
Paul Pogba links continue to pop up among transfer rumours, what did Allegri have to say about the midfielder?
“On the market, talking about Pogba or something doesn’t make sense. He’s a Manchester United player and I don’t know what he’s going to do next year, we have a good relationship but at the moment it doesn’t make sense to talk about the market. We have to think about our objectives.”