27.02.2017 13:15 - in: Coppa Italia S

    Allegri: “Aiming for third straight final”

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    Massimiliano Allegri ahead of Tuesday’s semi-final against Napoli: “We want to give ourselves the best possible chance of reaching the final”

    Up for the cup 

    “Napoli will be out to prove a point tomorrow following Saturday’s defeat to Atalanta. They’ve not just lost all of the good work they’ve done in these two years overnight, so it will be a very difficult match.

    “We’re focused on doing what we need to do. Given that the first leg of this semi-final is being played at home, the most important thing is to not concede any goals.

    “Tomorrow we want to lay down strong foundations ahead of the second leg and therefore give ourselves the best possible chance of reaching the final and ultimately win a third consecutive Coppa Italia.”

    Team news 

    “Rugani will be rested tomorrow. I’ve Bonucci, Barzagli, Benatia and Chiellini all at my disposal and I’ll decide later today who will start against Napoli.

    “Lichtsteiner and Asamoah will occupy the full-back slots, while in goal Neto starts again. He’s a great keeper and he’s only a deputy to Buffon because it’s Buffon!

    “I’ve several midfielders vying for starting berths. Regarding the forwards, Dybala played well on Saturday. He’s essential in linking midfield and attack, and he raises the technical level of the whole team which is very important.

    “Higuain is a player who needs to be on the pitch more often than not because that helps keep in peak condition. I’ll make a call later on Pjaca’s involvement for tomorrow.”

    Balance, patience, improvement

    “The team has changed a lot and is improving both on an individual and collective level. We’re aware of our strengths, whilst not overthinking things on the pitch and that’s crucial.

    “It’s important to keep the right balance. Over the course of a season, it’s impossible to always score against your opponents at the start of matches. Sometimes you need to stay patient in order to break them down later on, as we did against Crotone and Empoli at the weekend.

    “The formation is working well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t alter things when the time requires it.

    "There are 15 matches 100% confirmed between now and the end of the season, but it's down to us to make sure we extend that fixture list in the cup competitions."

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