Juventus
    Juventus
      14.10.2016 12:45 - in: Serie A S

      Allegri: “First match back always dangerous”

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      Massimiliano Allegri calls for full focus from his team ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Udinese, the Bianconeri’s first since defeating Empoli two weeks ago

      After a two-week hiatus, there was unsurprisingly plenty for Massimiliano Allegri to discuss with the journalists gathered at Juventus Center in Vinovo this afternoon as the Bianconeri boss looked ahead to Saturday’s homecoming clash with Udinese.

      Warning that the first fixture back after an international break is “always the toughest”, Allegri called for maximum attention from his side in tomorrow’s encounter while earmarking victory as the perfect way to kick off a hectic three weeks, that will take in seven games across Serie A and the Champions League.

      The Tuscan tactician’s key quotes from his media meeting, including team news and injury updates, are as follows: 

      Team news

      “We will have the chance to have a proper look at everyone today in training including the South American boys who returned after the European-based players and will have had less time to prepare for Saturday as a result.

      “What I can say is that Daniele Rugani, Marko Pjaca and Kwadwo Asamoah are the only guaranteed absentees. Claudio Marchisio made a promising comeback in a friendly during the week but given the nature of the injury and the fact that he has been out of action for six months, we’ll be bringing him back into the side as carefully as we can.

      “In defence, Medhi Benatia is back and could well start tomorrow with one or both of Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli. Whether we play three or four at the back is yet to be decided.

      “Further forward, only one of Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain will feature and for that reason, especially since Pjaca is out too, we’ll be calling up Moise Kean from the Primavera to join the first team squad: the boy is a real talent but at 16 years old, he needs more matchday experience."

      Udinese

      “Three points are an absolute must tomorrow, not only because Roma and Napoli meeting earlier in the day will give us the chance to steal a march on at least one of our title rivals but also since Saturday’s is the first of seven big matches in 22 days and it will be great to build some momentum after a stop-start opening to the campaign.

      “The first game after the international break is always the toughest as teams can sometimes catch you off guard. When you have players returning having travelled long distances, it can be difficult to pick up from where you left off so we’ll need to approach Udinese with caution; they have some quality players and in Luigi Del Neri, an experienced and shrewd new coach.”

      The month ahead

      “After a couple of slips early on this season, now is the time to really push on and start producing our very best form. We’ve got two very important fixtures coming up in the next few days and before thinking about Lyon on Tuesday, we have to make sure we do a professional job against Udinese.

      “That said, the Champions League double header with the French side (on 18 October and 2 November) could be decisive: we are in a three-horse race for top spot in the group and we are taking nothing for granted. Whatever the competition, we’ll approach every match with maximum focus.”

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