Massimiliano Allegri says Juventus must keep motoring forward if they are to hold off the challenge of nearest Serie A rivals Roma and maintain their supremacy at the top of the league.
After overcoming Palermo at the weekend, the fixture calendar takes the Bianconeri to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, where an in-form Genoa provide their next opposition tomorrow night.
And with Gian Piero Gasperini’s men starting the campaign on a solid footing, Allegri appreciates the task of claiming all three points at a notoriously difficult venue is anything but a straightforward one.
Speaking to the media in Vinovo, the 47-year-old began: “Genoa have lost just once in the last seven games. They play attractive football, like to attack and show decent movement up front. It will be a very tough game. I’m concerned by the state of the pitch, given the recent flooding in the region, and this makes it harder to put in a good display from a technical point of view.
“We dropped two points against Sassuolo, and this proves that games in this league aren’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. I can’t see Roma slipping up too often so we need to be at the races in order to maintain our stride.”
With the Bianconeri tackling their fourth fixture in quick succession, Allegri is tipped to continue with the rotation policy that has served to keep his men fresh in recent times.
Stating he will be looking out for signs of “tiredness” in today’s training session, the Tuscan tactician spoke of the “multitude of options” available him in midfield and attack, bolstered even further by Fernando Llorente’s return to goalscoring form at the weekend.
“Marchisio sat out two of the last three games, Pogba was rested for Palermo and Vidal beforehand. All of our midfielders have had the opportunity to play and there’s also been rotation up front: Morata figured in Greece, Giovinco’s started a game and had moments off the bench.
“Pirlo came off after 65 minutes, having played better than he did against Olympiacos and Sassuolo. He was given an ovation by the fans, who showed their recognition for someone who is truly extraordinary when he plays football. I’m happy with what he showed against Palermo and pleased he’s recovering. Juventus need him.”
On the injury front, he added: “Marrone returns to the squad for our trip to Genoa, Romulo was back for Palermo and we hope to have Caceres fit for Olympiacos. Pepe suffered a setback with his adductor muscle but will be back training with us in a few days, while Barzagli requires a little more time.”
The last 24 hours have brought news of Carlos Tevez’s return to the Argentine international fold and Paul Pogba’s inclusion on the 23-man shortlist for this year’s FIFA Ballon d’Or accolade.
Both players, according to Allegri, are fully deserving of their respective feats.
“Tevez has reached an important target of his. He’s an excellent player, an ambitious person and his country matters a great deal to him. I’m very happy he’s been included in the Argentina squad because it’s something he deserves.
“The Ballon d’Or nomination is a good achievement for Pogba. His contract extension is a sign of the great faith the club has in someone who has been brought up to the levels of a top player. Now it’s down to him to become one of the best three midfielders in the world.”
Another prestigious accolade is expected to be crowned tomorrow night when Gigi Buffon runs out for his 500th Juventus appearance, and Allegri backed his captain to keep setting the standards for many years to come.
He concluded: “It’s an achievement that very few will accomplish. Gigi’s deserved it and I think he’s got a great deal more to offer because he combines the enthusiasm of a youngster with the cool head of a veteran. His professionalism is a great example for the youngsters, who learn how to behave at an important club like Juventus.”