After making it seven wins on the trot after the resumption of Serie A league action, Juventus will play again on Saturday. This time they will host surprise outfit Udinese who have had a hot start to the season and despite falling to eighth since the first month of the campaign, remain a formidable outfit having scored as many goals as the Bianconeri this season.
Manager Massimiliano Allegri started off his pre-match press conference on a somber note though mourning the passing of two big footballers.
“Before starting the press conference, it is only right to remember Ernesto Castano and Gianluca Vialli. Two players but first of all two men.
“They gave so much to Juventus and the Italian national team. I kindly ask you to take a minute of recollection in memory of these two men.”
Allegri added more praise for Vialli, Juve’s captain the last time they hoisted the Champions League trophy.
“The memory is what he leaves for the young people. The expression of how he interpreted the matches, with technique, with heart and with passion.
“So much as a player but above all as a man. An example to follow, we will all miss him.”
Angel Di Maria was the subject of ridicule earlier this week after being injured in his first training session back after winning the World Cup, but is available for tomorrow.
“We have recovered Di Maria. Alex Sandro should be back, he’s fine. Tomorrow between Federico Gatti, Daniele Rugani, Danilo and Alex Sandro, three will play. Momentarily we take off Gleison Bremer who is a bit fatigued.
“I will decide the formation in the next few hours based on how the players are. Udinese are a very physical team with an extraordinary player like Roberto Pereyra who had done very well with us.”
Federico Chiesa was held out of the starting lineup for the win against Cremonese.
“At the end the other day he played one half. Chiesa did well, physically he needed a game like that. He is growing in condition, I don’t know if I will be able to start him from the beginning, however I am very happy.”
Moise Kean was lively in his substitute appearance at Cremona, what was his opinion of the striker?
“This year he has presented himself very well, he has lost 6 kilos compared to last year. Then he has matured, he has a different presence on the field.
“He is a player who has grown a lot. Tomorrow, I have to evaluate whether to play him and Milik together or maybe start Di Maria.”
Juventus’ arm-long list of injuries also includes the versatile Juan Cuadrado and Mattia De Sciglio.
“Tomorrow is impossible. Cuadrado is working well, and I think in a week he can return to the team. He, De Sciglio, Vlahovic, Pogba — who is doing well — within 15 days I think we will see them with the team.
“Not all of them but most of them. You have to play these games and try to have everyone available.”
Has Inter Milan’s win against Napoli opened up the Scudetto race again?
“Napoli are clearly favoured, they are many points ahead and they are having an extraordinary year. Our goal is to stay in the top four.”
Allegri also confirmed that his squad were in a training retreat to keep distractions at a minimum, before expounding on his substitutions philosophy.
“It depends on the match, I always try to give balance to the team. There are so many conditions to evaluate, in the end you have to have some luck. If you win them, you guess them, if you lose them everyone says it went the other way.”