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Allegri: Respecting the opponent is the secret of every winning team

Coach’s comments as Juve prepare to start another Serie A campaign

Juventus Training Session Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

Juventus start the season with a Monday night game against Sassuolo, and coach Massimiliano Allegri was speaking in his first pre-match press conference of the season.

Speaking about Juve’s transfer business so far, Allegri insisted that his side were not necessarily stronger than last season.

“I don’t know if we are stronger than last season, some excellent players left and we’ve replaced them with other excellent players.

“We must have the enthusiasm and be aware that we need something important to win the title. We must work. I was taught that winning games is what matters. We must work on our attitude. The lads didn’t win a challenge against Atletico and they know it. If you don’t win challenges, you hardly win games. We need to be humble and keep a low profile.

“It’s useless to talk about transfers now. We have replaced the players who left. We should only think about the pitch because tomorrow we have an important test. We should not get distracted. We have an opportunity in the next four games.”

On who he was tipping to win the Scudetto, Allegri remained cautious.

“It’s difficult to win; there are strong opponents. AC Milan and Inter Milan signed excellent players; same for Roma, it’s a league with 4-5 contenders for the title, so we must work quietly and improve the team from every perspective.

“That’s what we are doing. The club did well replacing those who left. Now we must focus on the pitch. Tomorrow is an important game.”

Latest signing Filip Kostic could make his debut against Sassuolo tomorrow.

“He is a great crosser and has excellent ball control. I can pick him, Weston McKennie or Juan Cuadrado. Out of these three, two will play. Dusan Vlahovic will benefit from Kostic’s arrival.”

Arthur is not available as Juve are looking to move him off the books.

“Arthur has an ankle problem and for this reason, he didn’t join us in the USA. There are also transfer rumours so he is not available.

“We have four full-backs, Danilo, Alex Sandro, Cuadrado and Mattia De Sciglio. I am grateful to Pellegrini for what he did last season, he played 21 games and did well. He had this chance, and he left.”

There’s been plenty of frustration from the fanbase with how the club has been managing youngsters.

“Some will stay and others will leave to get more playing time. One thing is certain, the youths we have are very good. They are working well, I am happy with them. We must pick the right path for them.”

The coach previewed the clash against Sassuolo, having lost this fixture at home last season.

“The team has worked well this month. Sassuolo beat us at home last season, so we’ll need to put in a great performance. Of course, we still aren’t in our best shape, but it’s the first game at home, and the stadium will be sold out. Enthusiasm is needed from us and the fans.

“We’ll suffer like in every game. We must respect the opponent, which is the secret of every winning team. We must do well when we have the ball and when we don’t have it. We conceded eight goals in three games and it’s something we must improve.

“Sassuolo come from a bad defeat in Coppa Italia against Modena, they’ve just signed an important player such as Andrea Pinamonti, it’s never easy to face them. They are dangerous and are technically valid. We’ll need a great performance tomorrow.”

As far as a squad update, he expressed frustration how he would be short a couple of players for the game.

“Adrien Rabiot and Moise Kean are out because they are suspended. It’s a situation to revise because they got a yellow card in the last game of the previous season and will miss the first one of the new campaign. It doesn’t only concern Juventus. One thing is a red card, another thing is to get five yellow cards in 38 games and miss the first game of a new season.

“Szczesny is recovering, Aké is injured, Pogba is working and hopefully, he will return soon. Same for Chiesa who will be at his best in January.

“Vlahovic is well. He has returned after a problem he had at the end of last season. Patience is needed, but he is improving now, he has everything to have a great season and for sure, he’ll have it.”