Juventus play the second game of their Champions League campaign tomorrow, hosting Benfica in what is looking like the battle for second place in Group H. With the Portuguese side having won their first game while Juve lost at PSG, nothing but a win tomorrow will keep the Bianconeri in the race early on.
Speaking ahead of the game during his pre-match press conference, coach Massimiliano Allegri gave a squad update.
“We have recovered Angel Di Maria, but I don’t know if he’ll start. Alex Sandro after the penalty on Sunday had a problem, we’ll see if he can recover for Monza. Manuel Locatelli and Adrien Rabiot are out.
“With Alex Sandro out I have Juan Cuadrado and Mattia De Sciglio who could play in central position. Thank god I have them.
“Will Arkadiusz Milik start? I will have to evaluate, I have doubts about the midfield, tomorrow morning I will decide. We have been recovering our energies for tomorrow’s match.”
Regarding tomorrow’s opponents Benfica, Allegri gave his opponents credit,
“They have a remarkable European history. they are made up of great players. They have a German coach who has given the coach great determination. It’s not a crucial game, but very important. We must guarantee solid performance and be focused all the time.
“Matches are long, we can’t exaggerate, we all want to do the best, but it’s not what football requires. You must be balanced, we must consider that we’ll play for 95 and we have time to win the game. We must calm down and be focused. It also depends on the environment, sometimes we lose our patience. We need to play as a team and be solid.”
VAR marred Juve’s potential win against Salernitana over the weekend, what did Allegri have to say about the refereeing controversy which resulted in his sending off.
“I’ve never expressed any judgements on referees, it’s not up to me to express my opinion on that. I don’t know if I’ll take part in the next game. Maybe it would be better to pay a fine for coaches, to help charity, I’d like to be on the pitch. This should be food for thought in my opinion.
“On Sunday I had a negative reaction and I was very sorry. Rather than be sent off and disqualified I’d prefer to pay a fine instead.”
Will Allegri go back to the three-man backline tomorrow?
“It depends on the features of single players, in this very moment, we can have a defence based on three players, but we could also have four depending on how the match goes. It depends on how the game evolves and how the opponents defend. What matters is to move properly and look for the right spaces.”
What is Juve’s problem with switching off during games that sees them concede goals.
“It’s something we have discussed, we need to find the balance. When you can’t score, you can’t concede goals either. It’s not a shame if the first half ends 0-0. You can’t concede any goals. In these specific moments, the team will have to be concentrated and not be anxious because the opponents scored. When you can’t score, it doesn’t mean you can concede. We must keep on playing properly.”
Allegri also commented on Dusan Vlahovic’s current form and the squad’s experience level.
“He has improved a lot and I am really happy with what he has been doing so far. He is the player with less experience at an international level, but is one of the best strikers you can find along with Mbappé.
“We have experience, many of our players have UCL experience, but others haven’t played in Europe or Serie A often. All the players at Juventus are under pressure, we are pushed from the outside and we must consider these aspects. Bremer will play his second UCL game, he is a great player, but he must deal with some psychological pressure. We have time to recover (in Serie A), but as for tomorrow’s match is going to be difficult and complicated so we must be focused.”