Massimiliano Allegri says that a win in tomorrow night’s Champions League Group D clash with Borussia Monchengladbach would place his team in an ideal position to qualify for the knockout stages of this season’s competition.
Wins over Manchester City and Sevilla mean a third triumph on the spin against tomorrow’s opponents would see Juventus take full command of the group, but the Tuscan was keen to warn his men of the perils of underestimating a side who travel to Turin buoyed by four successive Bundesliga wins.
Speaking to the media at Juventus Stadium, he began: “It will be a decisive game if we win it, seeing as Manchester City and Sevilla still need to go head-to-head.
"Borussia have bounced back under their new boss and mustn’t be underestimated. We need to play as if it were a one-off game because winning would take us a big step towards the knockout stages.”
With such an important encounter on the cards, the manager will certainly be tapping into the experience of midfielder Sami Khedira, who will know all about the threats posed by his fellow countrymen.
Since battling back from injury the German international has proved to be a vital cog in this new-look Bianconeri outfit, and Allegri believes there is plenty more to come once he regains peak condition.
“Khedira’s one of the best in Europe in terms of his technique and tactical intelligence. He, alongside Barzagli, put in an extraordinary performance on Sunday. He makes very few mistakes and his positioning is excellent. His condition still needs to improve, but he’s a player with great international pedigree.”
Turning his thoughts to tomorrow’s team selection, the Tuscan tactician was candid regarding his defensive line-up, but elected to keep his cards close to his chest when probed on potential candidates for the striking berths.
“I can tell you that Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci and Chiellini will all start the game. Mandzukic is in better shape, although he hasn’t got 90 minutes in him just yet. Morata’s coming on well, Zaza’s in great nick and Dybala has extraordinary qualities, but will be allowed to develop gradually, in the same way as Morata was last year.”