Massimiliano Allegri has urged his men not to let their guard down when they face a new and improved Atalanta team tomorrow night in Bergamo.
The Bianconeri go into the encounter riding on the crest of a wave after recording Serie A’s best ever start to the season with their fourth successive win and clean sheet in Wednesday’s 3-0 triumph over Cesena.
But while the form guide may have Juventus down as favourites, Allegri believes the Nerazzurri’s strong recent performances against Inter and Fiorentina have not necessarily been reflected in the final outcome.
Speaking to the media in Vinovo, the Bianconeri boss began: “Atalanta approach the game on the back of two defeats despite putting in good displays during both, especially in the home game against Fiorentina.
“They possess greater quality with respect to previous years, have plenty of pace up front, two attack-minded wingers and a target man either in the form of Denis or Bianchi.”
A win at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia would put the reigning champions in a strong position ahead of their mouthwatering double-header against Atletico Madrid and Roma.
Looking further forward, the 47-year-old said: “We’ll look to come back with three points that would be fundamental ahead of our upcoming fixtures against Atletico and Roma. The latter will be a fascinating affair and important for the league, but not decisive at this stage. There are still plenty of points up for grabs.”
As far as tomorrow’s team selection is concerned, Allegri says he has plenty of options available to him following the strong performances from all those who came into the fold on Wednesday night against Cesena.
Revealing that Carlos Tevez and Paul Pogba are likely to reclaim their places in the starting line-up, he also hinted there could be a first start in the black and white stripes for summer signing Alvaro Morata.
“Giovinco played an excellent 90 minutes on Wednesday, as did Pereyra, Ogbonna and Evra. I could make changes tomorrow and I think Pogba and Tevez will return. Vidal needs to both train and play. He struggled a little bit in the second half against Cesena, but is in very good shape and the goals served as a morale boost.
“I still need to make a decision on Llorente. He’s playing well, working hard for the team and a goal is the only thing he’s missing. I would have no problems in playing Morata tomorrow, he’s got quality in abundance and will only get better.”
Ending with an update from the treatment table, Allegri expressed his belief that the return to fitness of Andrea Barzagli and Andrea Pirlo is merely a matter of time.
“Barzagli’s undergoing a personal regime in order to get him back training with the group in a week’s time. Pirlo will train in Vinovo tomorrow before playing a friendly designed to give minutes to those who need them. Marchisio is currently doing very well in his position, his performance on Wednesday was top notch.”