Massimiliano Allegri says neither he nor his players will be paying any attention to the derby day form guide when Torino make the short journey to Juventus Stadium on Sunday night.
With the Granata’s last derby win coming almost two decades back in 1995, the league leaders remain the bookmakers’ firm favourites to claim another set of bragging rights when hostilities are resumed tomorrow evening.
But Allegri insists he won’t get sidetracked by the past and is instead focusing all his attentions on the present, which sees his team welcome a well-drilled Torino side in decent shape.
Speaking to the media in Vinovo, the 47-year-old said: “The stats are all in the past and when the referee blows his whistle tomorrow, we’ll be on level pegging. Toro put in a decent performance on Thursday night in the Europa League and will put up a fight, denying us space and looking to put their counter-attacking abilities to good use.
“Ventura is an excellent coach, his teams play good football and get results. El Kaddouri has got pace and good timing when breaking into the box. I think he’s their most in-form player. Then there’s Quagliarella who is always a threat, we’ll need to be alert. There’s great respect for Torino, but we’re in it to win it.”
Another form guide, the overall one, sees Juventus approach the clash in excellent condition after stringing together four successive victories since Allegri opted to switch to a back four for the visit of Olympiacos.
But while the boss admits he’s pleased with the way the players have responded to the new system, he insisted nobody will be getting carried away while the Bianconeri’s Serie A supremacy and Champions League qualification hopes remain in the balance.
“I think the team’s always got results. Now we’re operating with a different system, and it’s normal to pay greater attention when using a less familiar setup. Having quality players, however, makes it a lot easier to change things around.
“We’re in a good run of form but we mustn’t get carried away. We have an important game tomorrow and still haven’t achieved anything yet. We need to get through to the last 16 in the Champions League and with Roma just three points behind us, there’s still everything to play for in Serie A. We need to keep going quietly about our business.”
Tomorrow night will see Patrice Evra recalled to the starting line-up following a month on the sidelines, with the Frenchman’s return providing a timely boost for his manager after yesterday brought confirmation Kwadwo Asamoah’s impending knee surgery in Barcelona.
Yet in spite of the recent injury difficulties suffered in defensive and midfield areas, Allegri is confident he has decent options at his disposal.
He concluded: “Evra’s finally put his injury behind him and is ready to play tomorrow. He’s an important player who enjoyed an excellent ten years at Manchester United and now wants to show he’s also capable of performing well in the Italian league.
“Asamoah will undergo an operation and will be out for around three months, but when surgery’s involved this can always change. On the left we have Padoin, who has put in some fine performances, and Evra. Then there’s Mattiello, who played well when he came on against Lazio in Rome, and the return of Caceres will give us another option on the right.”