We return to club action this weekend with Juventus making the trip to the San Siro to face league leaders AC Milan. Speaking during his pre-match press conference, coach Massimiliano Allegri talked about the clash that sees his current side take on his former team and what he expects from the match-up.
“A good, interesting match. At the moment it’s first against third, we know the challenges, playing at San Siro is nice but difficult at the same time.”
Both his opposite number Stefano Pioli and former Juve director and currently Inter Milan CEO Beppe Marotta have recently said they think the Bianconeri are among the favorites to lift the league title.
“I don’t know why they say this. One is the coach of Milan, the other is the director of Inter, it’s normal for them to say that Juve are favourites.
“We need to pick up as many points as possible to reach the top four at the end of May. Let’s enjoy tomorrow’s match against Milan and after that we’ll see what we’re able to do.
“I’m curious to see what kind of match we will have against one of the three favourites for the league alongside Inter and Napoli, and in such an important and packed stadium as well.”
The coach provided an injury report on the side, with the positive news that Federico Chiesa was back in training yesterday after pulling out of the Italy squad’s international fixtures.
“Dusan Vlahovic has been training with the team all week and is well. Chiesa did half a training session yesterday, today we will evaluate whether to call him up or not, if he is calm enough to be available.
“I still have to decide who will play, Samuel Iling-Junior is also back and is well. They are players who can also split the match in two.”
Both Danilo and Alex Sandro are out for the game but Allegri isn’t worried.
“We have Daniele Rugani and Dean Huijsen, we shouldn’t change anything. It’s important to have the right approach in a difficult match. Adrien Rabiot will be captain, it’s his first match and we hope it’s a good omen.”
New signing Timothy Weah didn’t have the best start to his time at Juve, but has settled into the side now.
“Regardless of Theo’s suspension, Weah is growing. He had a quiet spell after the pre-season tour, now he has found his balance. It’s normal, a boy who came from another league and needed time to understand. Now he is doing very well.”
Allegri was also asked about the now-suspended Nicolo Fagioli along with Nicolo Zaniolo and Sandro Tonali who are all being investigated in the illegal betting fiasco embroiling Italian football.
“I can talk about Nicolò Fagioli, but not about the other two who are not part of Juventus. The club has spoken and I agree with what has been said. It’s the start of a journey for Nicolò that will bring him back on the pitch at the end of May.
“These seven months, he will need to maintain his athletic condition and most importantly of all, he needs to engage in social work.”
The coach said that he has been in touch with the youngster, emphasizing that the whole Juventus family is supporting him.
“I spoke to him because it was right to do so, it won’t be an easy time for him, but he knows very well that the club, staff and team are around him and we are waiting for him.
“He will have to use these months to work on the pitch and commit himself off the pitch, at the end May he will be able to return to the field and we will wait for him with open arms so he can continue his career, which is only just at the beginning. We are here to help and comfort him, we support him.”