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Allegri: Significant growth at Juventus, we can still improve

Coach’s comments ahead of big Derby D’Italia clash on Sunday

Sport-Club Freiburg v Juventus: Round of 16 Leg Two - UEFA Europa League Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images

Juventus travel to the San Siro on Sunday to take on second-place Inter Milan, knowing that the position in the table rightfully belongs to them. Even with the 15-point deduction Juve have continued to make up ground on the top six, and are only now seven points behind Atalanta in sixth with a game in hand.

Speaking during his pre-match press conference, coach Massimiliano Allegri previewed tomorrow’s game.

“A good match against a strong team, it’s a wonderful match in front of 70,000 spectators, it’s the Derby d’Italia and it will be a fascinating match. We will have to be very good.

“We can improve, we need to improve in certain phases of the match especially in managing the ball and understanding the situation. However, I would say that there has been significant growth throughout the team. In the meantime let’s think about getting a result tomorrow evening.”

This season has been mixed for the Bianconeri in terms of taking on the top teams, with wins and losses interspersed.

“It’s important and difficult in Milan because six-pointers are always difficult to play. We lost at San Siro against Milan as well as in Naples and in Rome. At home, we beat Lazio and Inter and drew with Roma.”

There is now a date set on the calendar when the ruling on Juve’s appeal against the points deduction will be made about a month from now.

“We are now behind in the standings. It is difficult to make up the ground but we have to do our best. Tomorrow is important, looking at the league table, I repeat and I’ll say it from now until the end of the season: the team on the pitch has scored 53 points and that’s how we consider it.

“Between now and when the sentence comes on April 19, we’ll see what happens, but we’re working on it. We still have the Europa League and the Coppa Italia. Now let’s think about tomorrow night.

“We need to defend second place because we have 53 points which is three more than Inter, five more than Milan, four more than Lazio and six more than Roma. We don’t have to evaluate what happens off the pitch.

“If at the end of the year the team is sixth or fifth due to sanctions, it will mean that the season has not gone well. Right now we need to defend second place, which is where we are on the pitch.”

The coach also gave an injury update, with question marks around key players Federico Chiesa and Angel Di Maria, and midfielder Paul Pogba out again.

“They could both be out, I don’t know, we’ll see after training. We don’t have options up front without Kean and Milik, we have Soulé but only Vlahovic as a starting striker.

“We’ve been saying the same things for eight months. When he’s doing well, as happened before Torino, he’ll be available, I doubt he’ll be available immediately after the break, it’ll take a little more time.”