Massimiliano Allegri has underlined the magnitude of Saturday night’s meeting with Lazio at Juventus Stadium, deeming it a fixture that could ultimately put this season’s title race to bed.
With the second-placed Biancocelesti trailing the league leaders by 12 points, a win for Juventus would see them establish a resounding advantage with just seven games remaining.
But the manager appreciates the task facing the hosts is anything but straightforward, especially in light of the resounding run of form that Lazio find themselves on.
Speaking to the media in Vinovo, Allegri began: “Tomorrow is a match that could decide the Scudetto. Lazio are having an extraordinary season. They come into the game on the back off eight straight victories and have conceded the same as we have in the second half of the season.
“Nobody at the start of the term would have imagined they’d be where they are now. They can still reach 82 points and Roma 81, so nothing’s done and dusted as it stands.”
Aside from Paul Pogba, who is continuing his recovery from a torn thigh muscle, Allegri has the luxury of a full roster of players to choose from for the visit of Stefano Pioli’s side.
These include midfield wizard Andrea Pirlo, who suffered no setbacks after making his return to action in the midweek Champions League win over Monaco.
“Thankfully I’ve got a full complement of players and options available, but I would have picked my best team anyway, given that this is the most important game at present. Pirlo? He got better as the Monaco match wore and needs game time in order to regain his best condition.”
The season’s rapidly approaching climax means the transfer rumour mill is already in full spin, linking Juventus to a host of different players from around the globe.
But Allegri currently has his mind fully focused on targets of a different kind and is calling on the fans to help he and his men achieve them.
“Transfer rumours are part and parcel of the game, but we won’t let them distract us at this stage of the season. The fans need to be focused on urging the team on as they’ve done so far. I think they are happy with what we’re doing, but we still haven’t won anything and must focus solely on achieving our targets. Together.”