Juventus travel to the nation’s capital tomorrow to take on AS Roma for a big faceoff between two veteran dinosaurs on the touchline. Massimiliano Allegri and Jose Mourinho are both relics of a different age somehow still clinging on to a paycheck even though it looks like the game has gotten away from them.
Speaking during his pre-match press conference, Allegri noted about tomorrow’s opponent -
“They’re having a great season, they’re fighting for a place in the Champions League. They’ve only conceded five goals at home, they come from four home wins without conceding a goal.
“It will be a good game, in a full stadium. We’ll also have a nice spring day, we must be good to play a good match.”
What were his thoughts on the half an hour or so that Paul Pogba played in the derby win over Torino?
“He reacted well, he trained yesterday and he’s fine. The other day I was happy with the way he came on, he did good things.
“For the moment though, he’s just a good option on the bench. Milik will be back after the break, Kaio Jorge isn’t available yet, Miretti will be back.”
Yesterday we saw Lazio upset runaway leaders Napoli on the road.
“For us tomorrow night’s game is important, we’re going to play a direct clash with Roma. We need to break away from those who are behind us, start to break away from Bologna and it’s not easy.
“In front we are far away for now, let’s see how the season develops. The important thing is to go to Rome and play a good game.”
What kind of formation was he thinking of for tomorrow?
“You have to be patient and calm in putting in players who haven’t played for a long time. We have Freiburg [on Thursday], the changes from the bench are important. I’m happy to have them all available, choices will be made.”
Comparisons will always be made between Allegri and Mourinho.
“If I have similarities with him, I’m very happy, he’s won 26 trophies in his career. At Roma he is doing a great job.
“I would be sorry if he wasn’t there tomorrow, in my opinion once the coach is thrown out of the game, you can give him a fine rather than not seeing him on the bench next time.”
There has been talk about extending the contract of the savior of Juve’s season Angel Di Maria, and will he start tomorrow.
“Great players are always nice to have. Angel is extraordinary, but the club takes care of that. Right now, there are other priorities, even though Danilo’s contract has been renewed.
“I think he has started four games, he has always played the last ones. At Spezia he came on 35 minutes, it’s important that when he plays, regardless of the minutes, he makes an impact as he did in these games.”
Paulo Dybala has rejuvenated his career at the Giallorossi this season.
“Paulo is a player who has shown in numbers that he is important. He is for Roma, he has been for Juve. He has to be watched because near the area he’s dangerous.”
Was there any chance of Juve getting into the Champions League spots especially if the fifteen point deduction holds.
“The Champions League race is impossible. At the moment, the team have 50 points, on the pitch we’re doing it. Of those in front, one of Inter, Milan, Lazio and Roma will be left out.
“There’s also Atalanta who can get back in, there are 42 points at stake and everything is still to play for. We have to take one step at a time, we cannot look at them because they are far away.
“Qualifying for the Champions League with a 15-point deduction is like winning three Scudetti, not one.”