Massimiliano Allegri has called on his men to take their title charge to the final hurdle against Fiorentina in midweek by claiming all three points from this Sunday’s Derby della Mole clash at the Stadio Olimpico.
Scudetto chasing Juventus, who need just two more wins to seal a fourth consecutive league championship, approach tomorrow afternoon’s encounter as favourites over Torino, whose last derby day victory came two decades ago.
But meetings of inter-city rivals rarely go according to the script and the boss says he is mindful of his men being caught out by a side that has lost just two of its last 18 Serie A maches.
Speaking to the media in Vinovo, Allegri began: “We need another six points to make it certain and we have an extremely tough match tomorrow, because the derby is always different to any other game.
“Torino are having a great league campaign, they did superbly in Europe and they're still in the mix for a Europa League spot. So as always it will be hard tomorrow.
“It's never a normal game when two teams from the same city come together for a derby. The league table means very little. Torino play some excellent football and are well organised, as Ventura's sides always are.
“We need to be fully focused and see this match as massively important, first of all because it's a derby and also because we need points to take us closer to the Scudetto.”
A real sense of excitement is starting to build around the city of Turin at present, with this weekend’s derby to be followed by a Champions League semi-final at Juventus Stadium on Tuesday 5 May.
And after Pavel Nedved, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli had their say on the upcoming encounter with Real Madrid shortly after the draw was made, today brought the turn of Allegri.
“We have a semi-final to play against the European champions, a galactic team with some extraordinary players and a coach who's already won the Champions League a few times.
“It's an exciting challenge and we must go into it with the firm conviction that we can reach the final, but fully aware of the difficulties we must overcome in the semi-final itself – we'd be mad not to remember those.”
A midweek goalless draw in Monte Carlo secured the club’s first semi-final place in Europe’s premier club competition since 2003, and Allegri feels his team were on the receiving end of some excessive criticism after the result.
“We're in the Champions League semi-finals and at this stage we couldn't have done any better. We're top of the league with a few points' cushion, and we couldn't have done any better there either. We're in the final of the Coppa Italia, which we may win or lose – we'll find out on 7 June. And we couldn't have done any better.
“I think some of the criticism levelled at us has been a bit over the top. I believe it could have been spared for a single game when we didn't play as well as at other times, because the result was more important than the performance.”