Massimiliano Allegri says the Bianconeri must be on their game when they line up against early pacesetters Inter Milan at the San Siro, but insists the outcome of tomorrow’s Derby d’Italia will not have a bearing on the ultimate destiny of this season’s Scudetto honours.
The Nerazzurri, who sit second in Serie A on 16 points behind Fiorentina, have made an encouraging start to the campaign and will be looking to underline their title credentials with a positive result against the reigning champions.
As such, Allegri appreciates that a top performance will be required if Juventus are to come away from Milan with a vital three points to reignite their own ambitions of Scudetto glory.
Speaking to the media in Vinovo, the boss began: “This is by no means an all-or-nothing match. We do need to be realistic at the moment. We have to aim to get to March and be in with a shout for the Scudetto but tomorrow’s game is not going to decide who wins the title.”
“It’s a fantastic one to be involved in - it’s the Derby d’Italia. We’ll be playing in front of 80,000 people plus everyone else watching on TV around the globe. There’s plenty of incentive for us to do well. We must make sure we perform strongly and play the right way. We can’t go to Milan and not be on our game.”
Allegri has the luxury of a full complement of players for the short journey south to Lombardy, meaning recent injury worries Claudio Marchisio, Mario Mandzukic and Alvaro Morata are all in contention for a starting berth.
The recent international break has however taken its toll on certain members of the squad, and the Tuscan tactician admitted he will have to give his team selection careful thought after putting his men through their paces for the final time this afternoon.
“Tomorrow, for the first time this season, I’ll have more or less everyone available for selection. However, they don’t all have the same level of fitness as some have played more than others.
“We need to look at everyone’s condition, especially our players returning from overseas duty and those who had been sidelined. We have some international players who haven’t recovered properly yet and there are some injured players I need to assess today, although they’ve all been able to work with the squad.”