While this could be a momentous weekend in the Scudetto race, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri insists that the season will not entirely hinge on the result of the Bianconeri’s trip to Inter Milan on Sunday. Juve sit a point behind the Nerazzuri who also have a game in hand, and could feasibly be seven points clear if they beat the visitors tomorrow, but Allegri wants his side to focus on the game itself and not all the noise that tends to surround the Derby d’Italia.
The coach started with some positive injury news though, saying that key players Federico Chiesa and Adrien Rabiot will be back.
“We’ll all go, we’ve recovered Chiesa and Rabiot, then we have the two new players. Djalò is further behind, Alcaraz will have his first training session today, but we’ll all go to Milan.”
Would Chiesa be starting though?
“Today I will decide. It is important to have everyone available, we are in the second half of the season. In addition to tomorrow’s match, there are still many matches to go, we have two semi-finals of the Coppa Italia. Tomorrow will be a good transition.”
What was he going to be looking for from tomorrow’s game?
“Tomorrow will be a wonderful match, we know Inter’s strengths, we’re very good. It’s a clash, we still have to score many points for our goal, which is the Champions League. The desire and belief to get a result, in the end we’ll see who was better. An important evening and an important test for us.
“Who can say that the match isn’t good and important… Above all, a beautiful evening to be experienced and played with the best weapons, knowing that you have a team in front of you that are doing important things.”
Some words on new signing, midfielder Carlos Alcaraz.
“He is a young player, eager to do well. He wants to learn, I’m happy but it’s all to be discovered because he comes from a different league.”
Moise Kean’s purported transfer to Atletico Madrid did not materialize.
“I spoke to Moise, unfortunately the transfer fell through, and I told him that he has to get back to work and will certainly be useful to us in the second half of the season.”
How about young forward Kenan Yildiz?
“Competition is good for everyone, especially when you play one game a week. The whole team benefits from this and in fact those who come off the bench are always ready.
“Tomorrow is a good game to play, but the points we score will be decisive from now until the end of the season. I’ve seen Yildiz better.”
Would this weekend make or break the Scudetto race for Juve?
“It’s not a decisive turning point, with three points you can recover and lose them in a few games. We have to get the points to get to the Champions League, which is our goal of the season.
“When these games happen, the good thing is that everyone talks, tomorrow the guys have to go on the pitch, have fun and do their best.”
Was he looking for more aggression from Chiesa on the pitch?
“He always tries to do his best. It’s normal that given the way he plays, the injury he’s had can cause him some discomfort. The more time that passes, the better he’ll be.”
Allegri also addressed some of the transfer rumours around Rabiot and Andrea Cambiaso.
“Rabiot is a tough player in the dressing room and on the pitch. The only thing I can say about Cambiaso is that they are only pleasing because for the club he’s an important asset for the future of Juventus.”
Did Juve have more to lose going into this game given the points difference between the sides?
“When we play, we’re at 0-0 and we always have something to lose. When they say you have nothing to lose, it makes me upset, when you play you always have something to lose.
“There are still many games to go, football is full of unexpected events. You have to have balance, the most difficult thing is managing the moments of difficulty that occur throughout the season.”
What fills him with confidence going into this game?
“Our strength is working on our limits, and this does not mean being more or less strong than the others.
“This is a cohesive group, there are less than 20 games left to qualify for the Champions League, so we’ll take it one step at a time. The things that have been done remain, things to do must be written.”
Did he think Inter were worried about Juventus’ challenge?
“We have great respect for Inter because they are the strongest team in the league and favourites for the Scudetto. We must not be distracted by outside chatter. We must play the matches, perform at our best and try to get results.”
Allegri ended by saying he did not expect tomorrow would quite go like the first time the two sides met in Turin, with two quick goals in the first half canceling out in a 1-1 draw.
“The first leg was a very balanced match with a lot of respect, tomorrow I think it will be a very different match.”