Juventus return from the international break to play the highest profile game in the country on Sunday, with Inter Milan visiting Turin for the Derby d’Italia. Speaking during his pre-match press conference, coach Massimiliano Allegri started off with a squad update.
“We’ll see how it goes tomorrow, today I can say we’re doing well. We’ve got Giorgio Chiellini back, Leonardo Bonucci will be on the bench but he’s still behind, Denis Zakaria and Alex Sandro are back. So we’re almost all fit and able.”
Regarding his starting lineup tomorrow, Allegri added -
“Alex Sandro yes, Zakaria I have to see. Chiellini is fine and will play. Federico Bernardeschi could be a starter, he’s recovered and feeling better.”
Word has it that Paulo Dybala will be leaving the club with his contract renewal negotiations having fallen through, and Allegri seemed to indicate that he had a part to play in it too.
“Tomorrow Dybala will play, so you’re all happy and you can write headlines about it. I haven’t missed you during this break, I haven’t seen you in 20 days!
“With the club we are in line with everything, when we talk I explain my ideas and then at the end we always find a unity of intent to plan. We all make our choices together.”
Allegri was asked who he was tipping to win the Scudetto with the top three bunched together very closely.
“It’s difficult to say who the favourite is, I think Inter, along with Napoli and Milan, are among the candidates to win the Scudetto.
“Tomorrow we will have to have a great performance in front of the Italian champions, to beat them and consolidate fourth place. We drew in Milan, lost in the Super Cup, maybe tomorrow it will be our turn.”
Would Juve be playing to win, or not to lose?
“I’m speaking for us, Juve have to think about fourth place. We’re potentially five points ahead of Atalanta but there are still a lot of points up for grabs, we’ll see where we are tomorrow.”
Allegri suggested his Inter counter-part Simone Inzaghi was lucky in one-off matches against him.
“Yes, it’s chance. He’s luckier in one-off games, I hope we’ll be lucky tomorrow.
“We’re not playing to make Inter lose the Scudetto, but to score points to finish in the top four. The aim is to play in the Champions League next year.”
The coach also explained why Juve decided to move on from Dybala.
“Arrivabene has spoken clearly, I have spoken today. Once you’ve made your choices, they remain those. I don’t think this is the first case of a player changing clubs, there are others who expire.
“We have to stay focused on the end of the season, we have eight league games and a Coppa Italia final to reach.”