Juventus play free-scoring Atalanta in their first game since the announcement of the fifteen point penalty levied to the Bianconeri in the plusvalenza scandal. With his side now sitting down in tenth place well off the European spots, coach Massimiliano Allegri called for focus.
“Tomorrow is an important game, it’s a special match after what happened yesterday. We all have to pull together even more, continue to work with a low profile. We only have to think about the pitch.”
In his mind, what has changed with the deduction of the points?
“Nothing, we still have to score points. We have to try to win tomorrow because it would allow us to hook seventh place. Then we have Europa League, Coppa Italia… We have to do the best we can.”
How has the legal affair affected his side’s concentration?
“We must not restart, these judicial matters concern the club, there will be an appeal. Given the league table we have to try to win tomorrow to be on 25 points.
“There’s no need to invent a lot of words. The team knows very well what needs to be done, nothing has changed for us. We have to have the inner strength and get back to what the current situation is.”
Would his Juve now play with the shackles off?
“At Juventus you never play lightly. Next week Pogba and Vlahovic will be back, tomorrow we’ll have Cuadrado available. Before yesterday’s ruling Juventus had 37 points with every chance of playing for a place in the Champions League and maybe the title.
“We must do our duty because the final verdict will be in two months and we must not let ourselves find ourselves in two months with regrets for not having done what we had to do. But we also went through this two months ago with the overturning of the board of directors.
“We come out of these unforeseen events individually strengthened with all the calmness of the case and above all with commitment and determination to do what we have to do, which is to win on the pitch.”
Would Adrien Rabiot be fit for the clash?
“Rabiot trained separately yesterday, but he should be ok. This morning I spoke with Scanavino, today at 14:30 the president will also speak to the team and then all we have to do is train and prepare for the match.”
Should Juve be disallowed to participate in European competition for any reason, would he leave the club?
“I am the Juventus coach and I will remain so, unless they send me away. There are times when we have to be responsible for what we are and what we do, in difficulties we have to be men.
“When things are going well we’re all good, when there are difficulties it’s more challenging and it has to concern everyone.
“In the league, the standings at the moment tell us that we are 12 points behind fourth place. I repeat: tomorrow we have Atalanta, it’s a direct clash and we’ll try to play a good game.”
Did he feel the punishment to be too severe?
“I was not in a position to talk about the seriousness. The certain thing is that we have to accept the verdict, for us on the sporting side these things should not concern us.
“We have to do our utmost, stay silent and make this challenge based on these 22 points. And I am convinced that the boys will do everything they can to get the maximum and maybe do something extraordinary.
“After they told me about the nine points I did the calculation to see how much we were missing for the Champions League, with 15 I did another one. To get there you need something extraordinary.”