Massimiliano Allegri has called on his men to stay firmly on their guard when they lock horns with a Verona side smarting from Thursday’s six-goal Coppa Italia last 16 defeat on Sunday evening at Juventus Stadium.
The Tuscan tactician believes Andrea Mandorlini’s men will have been wounded by the resounding nature of the reverse and expects them to come out all guns blazing when hostilities are resumed tomorrow night.
And with points gaining increasing significance as the season reaches its halfway point, Allegri says the Bianconeri must keep mistakes to an absolute minimum if they are to pull away from nearest challengers Roma in the Scudetto race.
Previewing the encounter at the club’s training base in Vinovo, the 47-year-old began: “Tomorrow's going to be a different game to the one we played on Thursday. Firstly because they'll take a different approach after suffering a defeat like that. They'll be very careful and won't want to give us an inch. We'd be mad to think it's going to be easy tomorrow.
“It's an especially important match considering the stage we're at in the league season. We'll have to cut mistakes to an absolute minimum in the second half of the campaign because there's less time to make up for them.
“Roma could go and win at Palermo tonight and I think they're perfectly capable of doing that. We just have to get our heads down and keep knocking out the wins because that's what we need to lift the title. We're going to need a lot of them before the season is out so we have to make sure we get the three points tomorrow.”
Allegri was pleased with the way a starting line-up featuring eight changes acquitted itself in Thursday night’s goal-fest, admitting he feels “reassured” by the strength in depth and options available to him.
He is, however, expected to bring Andrea Pirlo and Carlos Tevez back into the fold after the duo were rested in midweek.
“I learnt a lot from Thursday's game, it reaffirmed what I knew already from training. It means I have the option of switching to a different system during the match. Seeing the players who have played less in such good shape is a real bonus. Tomorrow will see the return of the lads who didn't feature on Thursday. But having all these other guys on the bench in such fine fettle is very reassuring for me.”
The visit of Verona will see Allegri welcome back Martin Caceres into the squad, although he hinted that the game may come a little too early for Arturo Vidal, who came down with a bout of tonsillitis in midweek.
“Vidal’s a lot better and will come out of hospital today. We’ll check him over and perhaps see him out training. It’s unlikely we’ll see him tomorrow, he wants to be involved, but has been taking antibiotics. Caceres is back.”