Massimiliano Allegri says that the form guide will go out of the window when the Bianconeri welcome old Serie A rivals Inter to Juventus Stadium for the 166th top-flight Derby d’Italia meeting of the sides on Sunday evening.
While Juventus have been firmly on the rise since the teams last met in October, culminating in a phenomenal 15-match winning streak that came to a halt last Friday against Bologna, Inter’s form has tailed off dramatically, resulting in them dropping out of the title race after leading the way for much of the season’s opening exchanges.
Despite the teams’ differing fortunes, the Tuscan tactician claims that recent results will count for very little when the two sides square off in a traditionally feisty encounter.
Speaking to the media in Vinovo, Allegri began: “It will be a tough game against a very physical outfit. They’ve had a great start to the season and haven’t lost any of their qualities. The league table won’t matter tomorrow. For us it represents the first of three remaining games against our nearest rivals.
“Inter are still in the hunt for third place and there’s still all to play for in the league. It’s not just a two-horse race between Juventus and Napoli. Roma are eight points off us, Fiorentina six, Napoli just one and with 12 games to play, there’s still a lot to be decided.”
Although non-committal when asked about his starting line-up, Allegri did reveal that he has an almost full complement of players at his disposal for the game, meaning Giorgio Chiellini and Alex Sandro will return to the squad after missing out on Tuesday’s clash with Bayern Munich.
And with Claudio Marchisio remaining sidelined with a thigh injury, the chance for Hernanes, who impressed in midweek against the German champions, could well come against his former employers tomorrow night.
“Aside from Marchisio, who will be back soon, and Caceres, who unfortunately will be out for a long time, all of my players are available for the game, albeit in varying conditions. I was very happy with Hernanes’ performance on Tuesday. He shielded the defence very well and did a great job in midfield. I’m convinced it’s a role that suits him well.”
Tomorrow’s match marks the first of two important clashes with the Nerazzurri in a matter of days, with a Coppa Italia final place up for grabs when the two sides renew hostilities at the San Siro on Wednesday night.
Looking ahead to the fixture, Allegri added: “On Wednesday we’re up against Inter again and we’ll be aiming to clinch our second consecutive Coppa Italia final spot. To do so we must play well and score, as a goal at the San Siro would be crucial for us.”