Massimiliano Allegri has ordered Juventus to resume their winning march when they run out in Cagliari tomorrow night for their final Serie A fixture of the calendar year.
Back-to-back Serie A draws against Fiorentina and Sampdoria have enabled nearest challengers Roma to cut the gap at the top to a solitary point, meaning the league leaders will be aiming to sign off on Italian soil by regaining their stride against relegation-threatened opposition on Thursday evening.
Yet Allegri appreciates it will be no easy task against a Rossoblu side, managed by the attack-minded Zdenek Zeman, in dire need of points to bolster their chances of climbing away from the Serie A drop zone.
Previewing the fixture with the media in Vinovo, the 47-year-old said: "It's not going to be easy because they're scrapping to keep themselves in Serie A. Like all Zeman teams, they're very dangerous in attack. You only need to look at their most recent games. Even when they lost 4-0 at home to Fiorentina, they created a hatful of chances.
"They're a tricky side to play against but we need to get back to winning ways and we need to do that tomorrow. We also have to play well – something we did against Sampdoria but sadly without getting the win.
“But we must to get back to winning ways by turning in a good performance. Our display was decent against Sampdoria, but unfortunately we weren’t able to claim the victory.
"It's not true that we're tired at the moment. Not at all. On Sunday I think we produced one of our best performances from a physical point of view. I think we got things wrong on a technical level and we played too hurriedly, especially in the second half after the goal and in the last 20 minutes. That's why people saw the game differently.
"It looked like we were tired but that's definitely not the case: the lads are in great shape. If you look at the intensity of our game on Sunday, I think it was one of our best performances of the season so far, perhaps second only to our display against Olympiacos."
With four players walking the suspension tightrope for the upcoming Super Cup final against Napoli, Allegri insists he won’t allow the encounter to influence his team selection for tomorrow night.
“I’ll pick the best possible starting line-up because tomorrow’s game is the most important. We hope to win without picking up any bookings, then we’ll see how we’re set for Doha.”
Subject to the outcome of an official appeal lodged by the club yesterday afternoon, Allegri could be forced to observe a touchline ban imposed in the wake of Sunday’s meeting with Sampdoria, a decision that has left him perplexed.
“My suspension? I'm still surprised about it. My behaviour towards the officials was, as it always is, decent and correct.”
Providing his first reaction to Monday’s Champions League draw, Allegri claims Borussia Dortmund’s impressive track record in recent years make them opponents of the highest order.
He concluded: “Borussia have had three fine years in which they’ve reached a Champions League final and won the Bundesliga. It’s a fascinating tie that sees us face one of Europe’s biggest sides at this moment in time.”