Massimiliano Allegri says his men’s determination to end the club’s 20-year Coppa Italia drought means they will not be taking tomorrow’s quarter-final meeting with Parma lightly.
Serie A’s basement side have endured a turbulent campaign both on and off the field this season but Allegri warned that the respite of the Coppa Italia could provide them with the opportunity to lift the current gloom surrounding the Ennio Tardini.
With this in mind, he is calling on his team to be vigilant against an outfit who have already displayed their potential to cause an upset with Serie A wins over the likes of Inter and Fiorentina.
Speaking to the media in Vinovo, the 47-year-old began: “We’re playing a quarter-final and it’s our duty to try and get through to the semis. It’s been 20 years since we last won the Coppa Italia.
“We won’t go to Parma expecting an easy ride. They’ll look to pull off a result and get through to the semi-finals, so we mustn’t underestimate them and need to tackle the game with the right maturity.
“We know it won’t be a straightforward encounter. Even though results haven’t been forthcoming, Parma have put in some decent performances in recent times. Let’s not forget that they’ve beaten Inter and Fiorentina in Serie A.”
For his team’s assault on a semi-final spot, Allegri can count on a full squad at his disposal with the solitary exception of Carlos Tevez, who will remain behind in Turin for individual work.
Whilst confirming Marco Storari’s presence between the posts and the return of Andrea Pirlo to the fold, the manager remained tight-lipped over other areas of the team, particularly the potential inclusions of Kingsley Coman and Sebastian Giovinco.
“Storari will play in goal and Tevez is the only one who misses out. He needs to do some specific work on the training ground, so we’ll make the most of this period to try and get him into peak condition. Pirlo trained yesterday and is available.
“Coman is young and I’ve got great faith in him. He could get his chance tomorrow but needs to remain calm, get his head down and work, because he’s got all the quality required to become a fine player.
“Giovinco? He’s made his choice for next year but is a professional and continues to train well. He’s one of the four strikers at my disposal for tomorrow.”
With the Bianconeri’s form picking up in recent weeks, certain sections of the media are starting to ask if supporters could dare to dream of a historic treble.
Allegri, however, continues to keep his feet on the ground, insisting there is still a long way to go before honours are handed out.
“More than dreaming we need to try and be competitive right until the end. We’ve got a few points’ advantage in Serie A, but there’s still a long way to go and we need to be level-leaded. We’ve got what it takes to enjoy a strong run in the Champions League, but we can’t forget that we’re up against Borussia, who have always achieved excellent European results in the last few years.
“The Champions League is a strange competition and also comes down to incidents. We need to be positive, but we’re still a fair way off that game. We’ll think about it further down the line, for now we’ll focus on Serie A and the Coppa Italia.”