Massimiliano Allegri says Juventus will be in for a closely-contested encounter when they run out against reigning Europa League champions Sevilla on Wednesday evening in Turin.
Domestic struggles for either side have been offset by winning starts to their respective Champions League campaigns and the Bianconeri boss knows plenty of heart will be required if his men are to record their first home victory in a game that could have a significant say in the overall destiny of Group D.
Speaking to the media at Juventus Stadium, he began: “We’ll need to show a great deal of determination out there, you could almost call it a decisive game as far as our hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout stages are concerned.
“Both teams have got off to poor starts in their respective championships, but in the Champions League they beat Borussia while we won in Manchester, so it will be an evenly-poised fixture.”
Three displays in the first eight matches of the season have been identified by Allegri as the benchmark for his new-look side, but he acknowledged his men still need time to gel as a unit before feeling at ease in a variety of tactical setups.
“We’ve turned in three strong performances to date: in Shanghai, Manchester and Genoa. These need to become the norm.
"This team possesses plenty of quality, but the players need to get used to operating in at least two different systems, given that the 10 new arrivals aren’t used to playing the 3-5-2 that was the bedrock of this team for three years.”
After returning to full training on Sunday, German international midfielder Sami Khedira is poised to make his first competitive start for the Bianconeri.
Confirming his inclusion, Allegri went on to name nine other members of his starting line-up for tomorrow night, stopping short of confirming the identity of one final midfielder, with Hernanes, Mario Lemina and Roberto Pereyra all vying for inclusion against the Rojiblancos.
“Khedira will start the game. He’s got international experience and even if he may not be able to last the entire 90, he’s ready and raring to go. He’ll be joined by Buffon, Bonucci, Barzagli, Chiellini, Cuadrado, Pogba, Evra, Morata and Dybala. The last player I’ll keep to myself for the time being."