Juventus will play a rare game on Friday this week as they go to Genoa ahead of the Coppa Italia final against hated rivals Inter Milan next Wednesday. The Bianconeri have sealed a Champions League berth for next season and as such have nothing to really play for tomorrow.
Speaking ahead of the game, coach Massimiliano Allegri insisted his side were still playing for pride.
“We must collect as many points as possible, we have managed to finish in the top four with three games to spare and we must prepare for the Coppa Italia Final. We need a good performance tomorrow, I’ll field the best team.
“Danilo will rest, Luca Pellegrini has an ankle problem, Juan Cuadrado is back, same for Mattia De Sciglio, even if he won’t be there in Rome [suspended]. Today I will decide the line-up.
“The Coppa Italia is a target, like Serie A and the Champions League. Even if we know that it’s a very difficult competition to win, we always have the same ambition. Everyone is waiting for Wednesday’s game, but there is another match first. We must get to the Final with lucidity. It will be a derby d’Italia, and we’ll play against the best team in Italy.”
The badgering about youngster Fabio Miretti seemed to get to Allegri as he eventually snapped when asked again about the teenager.
“He will play tomorrow, are you happy now?! I don’t know where, but he will play.
“I hope the same for Mattia De Sciglio. Adrien Rabiot will also play, same as Wojciech Szczesny.”
In an open training session this week Allegri appeared to beat star striker Dusan Vlahovic in a shooting contest.
“I put the last shot in, so I won! He scored when it didn’t count!
“I am happy with what Vlahovic is doing, I didn’t expect him to do so well at a big club like Juventus. He arrived at the end of January, he had to know his teammates and be available. He has done well and he can improve. Tomorrow he could play.”
Allegri has not been renown for his usage of young players, has that changed?
“Young players have chances if they are good. The more they play, the more they improve, like every job. When you began your journalist career, you were not as good as you are now. There is a path that must be followed to gain experience.
“I am curious to see how many young players play abroad. There is a tendency to generalise this thing. It seems that abroad they are always better than us.”
The coach was asked his opinion of the brilliant Champions League semifinal second leg last night where Real Madrid led by Carlo Ancelotti came from the dead to beat Manchester City, with Italian referee Daniele Orsato officiating the game.
“It was a marvellous game. First of all, I want to compliment Orsato, he handled the game with personality. To me, he is the best referee.
“Real Madrid proved that games never end. Character and personality make the difference, like technique and physical strength. Juventus have reached the Final twice in the last 10 years. Of course, we have changed a lot and we can’t always obtain the same results.
“I’ve said it many times. Six teams are much stronger than others: Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool. We always have the ambition to reach the Final, but the reality is different. If one accepts reality, then it’s easier to do better. It must motivate us to return to specific standards.
“I compliment Carlo, he has done something extraordinary. He has been criticised despite all the trophies he has won, he wasn’t seen as a fashionable coach, but as I always say, trends are transitory, but the classic remains.
“Like blue or grey suits. Ancelotti is a classic coach and has proved so much in his career. He has won five titles in five different leagues. One can only congratulate him.”