Massimiliano Allegri is calling on his men to show intensity, courage and focus when they run out for tomorrow’s Group D Champions League opener against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
The hosts have burst out of the traps in the Premier League, recording five wins from as many games during an imperious start to their 2015/16 campaign, and the Bianconeri boss appreciates his charges will have to be on their toes against one of the favourites for this season’s European crown.
Speaking to the media in Manchester, Allegri began: “We need to stop the rot and a positive result here could completely change our situation. Tomorrow’s is the first of six group matches and our aim is to reach the knockout stages.
“We’ll need to show plenty of intensity and courage and also be at the races from a technical standpoint. A focused display will be required against one of the strongest teams in Europe.”
With Claudio Marchisio a confirmed absentee for the encounter, Allegri is faced with a selection conundrum in midfield, especially in light of Saturday’s hard-fought 1-1 draw against Chievo.
But with new arrivals Hernanes, Alex Sandro and Juan Cuadrado all impressing on their Juventus Stadium debuts, the manager remains confident he has enough options at his disposal in the middle of the park.
“I have five midfielders available and we’ll see if I go with three or four – I won’t be revealing my team just yet. I need to have a good think about things because Saturday’s game was an energy-sapping one.
“Hernanes played well, seeing as he hadn’t featured in a competitive game for a while, as did Alex Sandro. Cuadrado also looked good, it’s important for us to play to his strengths and give him the right support.”
A strong Champions League campaign remains integral to the club’s plans and Allegri is confident that once things start to come together in the final third, Juventus can be optimistic of enjoying another exciting run in Europe’s premier competition.
“Our aim needs to be to stay within Europe’s top eight. We’re not scoring at the moment but the minute goals start going in things will be different. We’ve changed 10 out of 22 outfield players and time and hard work are required.”