Juventus return to league action with a Monday night game away at Empoli, but even before they kick off they should know the ruling from the Federal Court of Appeal, with all indications that the Bianconeri will be hit with a 12-point penalty.
Speaking to the media ahead of the trip while still trying to shake off the extra time disappointment on Thursday that saw Juve exit the Europa League at the semi-final stage, coach Massimiliano Allegri is expecting his players to respond tomorrow.
“We must have the spirit of a team that is reacting against the Europa League elimination.
“We have to defend second place and that could be an important result, seeing as Juventus finished fourth in the last two years. Mathematically, we need three points to guarantee a top four finish, then for the rest, there’s not much we can do about it. Psychologically, we’re accustomed to everything now, we’ve been mentally strong all year and must continue.”
There’s been plenty of criticism of Allegri’s tactics and Juve’s apparent lack of identity on the pitch with the football often dull and uninspired.
“I already spoke to the club owners and expressed my thoughts, but talking about the future now has no sense, because there are important games coming up. I have a two-year contract and as far as my choice is concerned, I will 100 per cent remain. After that, it’s not up to me to decide.
“I can only speak as to what my choice is, I don’t know what is in the minds of others. The directors will make their evaluations, we must continue working the way we always have done.”
Club CFO Francesco Calvo had recently praised Allegri for being a stabilizing figure in what has been an otherwise traumatic season on and off the pitch.
“When people say I am a corporate figure, that is a compliment. A coach does not just have a role on the field, you are also responsible for the sporting area and along with the club must do your best on and off the pitch.
“I feel the club has faith in me. I am disappointed with the Europa League and Coppa Italia, but we are temporarily second in the table and only Napoli are above us, despite everything. Not only did we reach the Europa League semi-finals, but we went out after an excellent performance. I know, results are what matter in football. The club will make its evaluations in a relaxed atmosphere.”
Regarding the squad tomorrow, Allegri will have to make some changes following the team’s exertions in Spain.
“Dusan Vlahovic had a bit of a fever yesterday, Adrien Rabiot is not in good shape, but we have the players like Fabio Miretti, Moise Kean, Arkadiusz Milik and Filip Kostic who didn’t play the whole game.”