21.02.2017 20:00 - in: Champions League S

    Allegri: “180 minutes of quality needed”

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    Massimiliano Allegri calls for focus ahead of “one of the toughest possible” last 16 ties at Porto’s Estadio do Dragao

    Porto impressive at home

    "Porto are used to playing at the very highest level and know how to win games in the Champions League. They haven’t lost since 27 September, have only conceded 14 goals all season and have beaten Bayern Munich and Chelsea here in recent years. There are no guaranteed results or surefire favourites at this stage of the competition. Playing away from home first means that scoring an away goal is absolutely crucial.

    "The best sides in Europe find ways of beating you both home and away. Porto have been rock solid at the back this term and, in that respect, we’re expecting an “un-Portuguese” challenge tomorrow night. Of the sides that qualified as runners-up, they are probably the toughest one we could have faced." 

    Team news

    "Bonucci won’t be part of the squad tomorrow night. Having consulted the board, I took the decision to leave him out for the good of the club, supporters and team. Leo is a sensitive and intelligent man and, as a key player for Juventus, he understands the motives behind the call. 

    "Chiellini and Barzagli are in good shape and, like everyone else who has travelled here, are raring to go. Further forward, Mandzukic, Dybala, Higuain, Cuadrado and Pjanic will all start."

    Focus paramount

    "We can’t afford to lose sight of our objective here. All we need to think about is playing 180 minutes of football of the highest quality and giving ourselves the best possible chance of reaching the next round. This tie will be far from straightforward. 

    "We’re in the middle of an intense run of fixtures and, as a result, I’m looking for every individual in this squad to deliver and stand together as a group. We were able to make changes and rest some players against Palermo, which did us some good. 

    The fact that we can rotate the squad and continue to pick up wins is a sign of the quality we have at our disposal. Between now and next Tuesday, we have three massive games to prepare for against Porto, Empoli in the league and Napoli in the Coppa Italia."

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