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Allegri: Juventus must finish strong in the league and cups

Coach’s comments ahead of Coppa Italia semi-final second leg at Inter Milan

Juventus v SSC Napoli - Serie A Photo by Sportinfoto/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Juventus travel to the San Siro tomorrow night for the return leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final to play Inter Milan, with the clash finely balanced at 1-1 on aggregate. With no away goals rule in the competition, whoever wins the game on Wednesday will go into the final.

Speaking during his pre-match press conference, coach Massimiliano Allegri provided a squad update after an exhausting and bruising game against league leaders Napoli on Sunday.

“It’s always a great match with Inter and Juventus. Both are playing for the final so it must be a great evening of sport, we hope to go to the final. We’ll do everything we can.

“In defence I’ll decide tomorrow, Mattia Perin will play for sure. Today Dusan Vlahovic sprained his ankle in training, so we’ll evaluate him in the morning, but he’s unlikely to be there tomorrow.”

“Paul Pogba is better, he’ll be able to play a bit of the game tomorrow.”

Moise Kean’s recent training injury means he would not be in the squad for tomorrow.

“Kean is out for sure, we hope to have him back in about ten days. Between Arkadiusz Milik, Federico Chiesa and Angel Di Maria tomorrow I’ll decide whether all three can play or just two, because then I also need substitutions.”

With all the uncertainty surrounding the club, how has he been able to continue his work this season?

“We have to prepare ourselves with serenity and desire for revenge to reach an important goal like the Coppa Italia final. If we are good and lucky, we will succeed, otherwise we will applaud Inter.

“But in this part the matches are decisive, we come from four defeats in the last five games. From the day after tomorrow we’ll put our minds on the league because the goal is to finish in the top four. And try to finish second because that would guarantee us access to next year’s Supercoppa.”

The game against the Partenopei became a heated event towards the latter stages, with assistant coach Marco Landucci exchanging angry words with opposite manager Luciano Spalletti.

“We have to think about working on the pitch, continue to behave as we have done with what happens off the pitch, I’m talking about sporting stuff and not court stuff. Complaints lead nowhere.

“We hardly ever complained in my years at Juventus, it’s part of my way of thinking. We have to continue like this because we mustn’t waste energy, complaints don’t bring points and we have to accept for better or for worse what happens.

“We have to be angry because we left a point on the pitch, the goal is our responsibility and we have to improve on that.”

Did he still see himself in charge at Juventus next season?

“I have a two-year contract, I am privileged to work at Juventus. To work seven years here is only for a few people. Then in life there are difficult moments when things don’t go well, you have to face them with broad shoulders and serenity and have clear ideas when planning the future.

“I’m a corporatist when I’m part of a club, I also have a responsibility to add value to the players and not just technique. We must think about finishing the league and the cups well.

“But we must have clear ideas about next season, we are a month and a half away from the end of the season and Juventus must plan for the future with all the desire and serenity knowing that we must return to winning.

“I don’t know if we will succeed, but we will certainly put in all the effort we can.”

What particular attributes would he be looking for tomorrow from his side, given their recent run of defeats.

“We must continue to behave well, if we made a mistake by coming off the bench, we will try to avoid it because our behaviour must be exemplary. Tomorrow must be a calm game, I hope everything goes smoothly because in the end it’s a game of football.”

Given how poorly the season started, would it be considered a success to reach possibly two cup finals?

“It would be the achievement of goals. We will do our best to get there, if we don’t get there it will be the others. Let’s think about resolving these things here, conceding goals in the 93rd minute from Inter and Napoli.

“In the league we haven’t managed to break 60 points, we have AS Roma and AC Milan three points behind us. To finish in the top four and a chance to finish second so we can play in the Supercoppa. We cannot do the impossible, with seriousness and work.”