Juventus take on Inter Milan tomorrow night in the final of the Coppa Italia, their last chance to pick up some silverware this season. While Juve have been able to secure Champions League qualification for next season with a handful of games left to go, their opponents are still in the thick of the race for the Scudetto attempting to defend the title they won last season, finally bringing to an end an incredible streak of championships for the Bianconeri.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side have already lost a final to the nerazzurri this season, having lost the Supercoppa in extra time, and the veteran coach will be seeking revenge.
Speaking ahead of the game in a later-than-usual press conference, Allegri previewed the clash at the Stadio Olimpico in the nation’s capital.
“It will be a nice game, Inter are a tough team and we’ll need patience. Football is strange, if there is an early goal, it will change everything. We need a good performance and try to bring the trophy home.
“Of course, Finals are always important and we want to win tomorrow.”
Allegri admitted that he was yet to finalize his lineup.
“I have some [doubts]. Tomorrow morning or evening I will decide. Giorgio Chiellini and Mattia Perin will play, Paulo Dybala as well we’ll see the others.
“Fabio Miretti and [Hans] Nicolussi Caviglia travelled with the team. Hans has recovered from a cruciate ligament injury and I watched him in action with the U23 squad the other day. I had fun, it was a nice game technically and as a reward, I brought him with us.”
Did he have any regrets about how the season has gone?
“The team had a bad start, but we reached an important result because playing the Champions League every season is crucial. We’ll try to improve things and be ready to start again from next season.
“You all know that seeing Ronaldo leave with only three days remaining in the summer transfer window wasn’t easy. I had to know the team as well. Then we lost Federico Chiesa. We faced a few difficult moments. On the other hand, we have improved and qualified for the Champions League Round of 16. The club helped us by signing Dusan Vlahovic in January, but our run was stopped against Inter last month.
“Now I know the players and the staff, I am sure that next season we’ll have more chances to win our main target, the Scudetto. It would be nice to win tomorrow, end the season in the best way and prepare for the next one.
“We played our best games against Inter and Manchester United*, but nobody remembers the result.”
(*-Allegri was referencing the 2-1 loss at home to Manchester United back in November 2018.)
Allegri could break a record with victory tomorrow, becoming the coach with the most wins in the tournament’s history - who would he say are the best Italian coaches in the game?
“To me, the best ones are those who win. Carlo Ancelotti has made the history of Italian football. Fabio Capello, Marcello Lippi, Arrigo Sacchi, winning coaches. Carlo is the only one still coaching. Many thought he was finished two years ago.
“It’s different to coach a top team and play to win every game. There are many prepared coaches in every division, but being a coach is not just about tactics. It’s something more. Some details are not written in any book. If you have it, you have it. There are different levels, like in every job, and those who win are the best.”
As usual, Allegri got asked about star striker Vlahovic’s scoreless spell which has now gone four games.
“I hope he scores two, not just one!
“Vlahovic is doing well and is serene. Sometimes he asks too much to himself. He is worthy of Juventus and he can improve next season. He has been scoring a decent amount of goals. In Italy, it isn’t easy to score a goal per game. When Ronaldo arrived he didn’t score for five or six games. If Vlahovic looks upset, it means that he cares about what he does.”