With the international break over Juventus can get back to the business of club football again with a challenging game against Lazio, but before that coach Massimiliano Allegri had to address some housekeeping matters off the pitch.
Former Juve defender Leonardo Bonucci appeared to accuse Allegri of pushing him out of the club after nine years in Turin over two spells, and the coach was asked what he had to say about the allegations.
“There’s nothing more to say about Bonucci. I can only wish him good luck for his career inside and outside football. Soap operas are on Canale 5 and I am not a big fan.
“I wish good luck to Leonardo for the remainder of his career. He joined a Champions League club, so it will be important for him in terms of motivation. There is nothing more to add.
“Leo didn’t create an internal war. A decision was taken, as we said. It’s part of the course of life. He will have a chance to play in the Champions League. The team wants to prove what we can do. Like all the teams I’ve coached, they leave everything on the pitch.”
What did he have to say about the veteran centreback supposedly calling him a liar?
“Being called a liar [by Bonucci]? My friends always call me Pinocchio, that’s the least of it.”
Meanwhile, Paul Pogba has been suspended after failing a drug test and while he is still waiting for a counter-analysis of the results, Allegri wouldn’t get drawn into commenting about the player’s actions.
“I am sorry but I have nothing to add. There is a process ongoing and people involved, so we can just wait. It’s hard to say what changes. He is suspended now, so we must wait until the end of the process.
“After the ruling, I can say what changes. At the moment, we know he won’t be available against Lazio and probably against Sassuolo. Then we’ll see. We are focused on what we have. We have an important game tomorrow and we must face it in the best way.
“He was a 30-year-old man when he returned. He suffered an injury and things did not go well. He put in all his commitment. He is a different player from the others, with all the respect due, as I already said in the past.”
What was Allegri’s reaction to the Bonucci and Pogba news in general?
“It’s two different things. I am sorry for what happened to Paul. As for Leonardo, we’ve already said a lot. I think it’s more important to think about tomorrow’s game. This is life, we go ahead and think about tomorrow.”
Addressing on-field matters, the coach provided a lineup update as well, starting with Federico Chiesa, Manuel Locatelli and Weston McKennie.
“I think he [Chiesa] has a good chance to start. He is back. He’d been recovering for a few days and then returned to training with the rest of the team so he can start.
“Locatelli is doing well and played a great game. He needed this call-up and a game like this.
“McKennie can play in central midfield or as a winger. He could start tomorrow. I am making assessments on him and Danilo who returned yesterday. McKennie is becoming reliable, I am happy with how he is training. It’s important for him to remain focused for the entire season.”
Allegri added that the club had a number of options to take penalties as well.
“Moise Kean is a good penalty-kick taker, the same as Danilo. McKennie, in his own way, can take penalty kicks too. If he plays, it will be his 100th appearance, a great result for him.”
As far as Lazio, who have had an indifferent start to the season but still managed to beat reigning Scudetto champions Napoli, Allegri said -
“Lazio have great technique, Luis Alberto, Immobile, Zaccagni, Felipe Anderson, Pedro and Cataldi. They are technical and quick players, tricky in tight spaces. Details will make the difference.
“It’s an important game tomorrow, Lazio are one of our opponents for the top four, which is our main target.”