Massimiliano Allegri believes Juventus will need to keep their foot firmly on the accelerator regardless of the outcome of tomorrow night’s top-of-the-table tussle with Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.
With nine points separating the Serie A frontrunners ahead of an enticing Monday night match-up, many observers, including Giallorossi midfielder Daniele De Rossi, have suggested the Bianconeri’s lead would be unassailable should they emerge from the capital with a victory.
But with 14 fixtures remaining in this season’s league campaign and plenty of points up for grabs, Allegri is convinced there is a lot more football to be played before Scudetto honours are assigned.
Speaking to the media in Vinovo, the 47-year-old began: “It will be a very, very important game for the league, but not crucial. What will be crucial is the head-to-head result remaining in our favour.
“There’s still a long way to go in the league. After tomorrow’s game we’ll have another 13 matches and 39 points to aim for, Napoli are closing in and are capable of enjoying a great climax to the season.”
“What De Rossi said is logical, because they’ll need to do everything they can to try and close the gap. There have been very few direct encounters so far and points are worth double in such games.”
In a successful week for Italian football following the progression of five teams to the next round of the Europa League, Allegri believes a decent contest between the Scudetto contenders will go another step towards enhancing the nation’s footballing reputation.
“Congratulations go to all the teams who got through. It’s an important result for our game, which from tomorrow night onwards must give a good account of itself on a European and international scale, both on and off the pitch.
“Roma have very few weaknesses and it will be a good game contested between two technical sides who this year have produced an important duel.
“Both are excellent teams and this was also shown in a really entertaining first meeting, even though the performances were somewhat overshadowed by the incidents.”
The Bianconeri travel to the capital with question marks surrounding the conditions of Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal, who this week have experienced injury difficulties in the run-up to the big fixture.
With Andrea Pirlo sidelined for over a fortnight, Juventus could find themselves short on numbers in midfield areas for the clash in the capital, although Allegri insists he is happy with the alternatives available to him.
“Both are in fairly decent shape. Vidal took a knock and his recovery is more straightforward. Pogba’s is a muscle complaint and given the important moment of the season we’re currently at, I can’t allow myself to risk losing a player for over a month.
“I’ll assess their fitness this afternoon, but there’s no emergency - I have Marchisio, Sturaro, Padoin. Otherwise we’ll operate with one or two fewer central midfielders. It won’t be a new system, we’ve often played with an inside midfielder who was almost a second attacking midfielder in support of the striker.”