Less than a couple of weeks after Juventus needed a late beauty from Federico Chiesa to put away Monza, the two sides will meet again tomorrow, this time in the Coppa Italia. Last weekend Juve threw away a lead against Atalanta at halftime in an exciting 3-3 draw, and with the 15-point deduction they have been hit with, their chances of coming close to a European berth via a league finish seem to be quite shaky.
Speaking during his pre-match press conference today, coach Massimiliano Allegri admitted that he had spoken with John Elkann, but denied that they had talked about a contract extension.
“I’ve spoken to John Elkann, but not about a contract extension. He only asked me how the team is doing. There are many things to do right now and we must remain focused on the pitch. We have four months remaining with several targets to reach.”
What has been his message to the squad regarding the big points reduction?
“I’ve asked the lads to go out on the pitch and win games. We must do what we’ve been doing until now. The club is strong, we must earn as many points as possible. There are 19 games remaining and Monza is the first one, we must be careful because they are doing really well.”
Juve’s impressive defensive run came to a shuddering halt with the spanking at Napoli.
“We come into this fixture after picking up just one point in our last two matches, conceding eight goals in the process. We have to do better. Before then we’d conceded seven goals in 17 matches, so we must slip back into our old defensive habits.
“Monza play good football and they showed that in the Coppa Italia. It’s important we get back to winning ways.”
With McKennie unavailable as he prepares to leave the club for Leeds United, Federico Chiesa will also miss the game, but Juve do get Paul Pogba and Dusan Vlahovic back.
“Chiesa won’t be available because he’s dealing with flexor fatigue in the operated leg. It’s something normal and he will be back against Lazio on Thursday.
“Vlahovic and Pogba are available for selection. They both had a good runout the other day. Dusan is in slightly better condition than Paul but both could feature, although they don’t have more than 30 minutes in them. Juan Cuadrado is out with an inflamed sciatic nerve and Leonardo Bonucci is behind with his fitness.
“McKennie won’t be involved either. I think the club have reached an agreement with the club he’ll be joining.”