04.04.2017 13:15 - in: Coppa Italia S

    Allegri: “Third straight final the aim”

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    Massimiliano Allegri urges his charges to raise their game ahead of Wednesday’s Coppa Italia semi-final second leg against Napoli at the San Paolo

    Necessary to score in Naples

    “These two matches against Napoli are completely different. Sunday’s was a league game, while tomorrow’s is a knockout match in the cup.

    “It’s a very important objective of ours to reach our third consecutive Coppa Italia final and then go to Rome to try to win it again.

    “It won’t be easy and we’re expecting a very open encounter tomorrow. Napoli made life tough for us at the weekend, but we’ve got what it takes to progress to the next round.

    “We’ll need to play a better a game this time from technical standpoint, because we made too many mistakes on Sunday. We’ll also need to score to be sure of reaching the final. We may be leading the tie 3-1 but we can’t afford to rest on our laurels.” 

    Team news 

    “It’s unlikely that Mario Mandzukic will feature tomorrow. Any one of Alex Sandro, Stefano Sturaro or Juan Cuadrado could come in to replace him.

    “Neto will definitely start in goal, but I still need to decide about the outfield positions. It could be that I make as many as seven or eight changes to Sunday’s starting XI. After all, we’re playing every three days so everyone needs to play their part.

    “I’ll make a call on Miralem Pjanic and Claudio Marchisio’s involvement later today too. My decision-making won’t be affected by players on cautions who may be at risk for the final. Last year Leonardo Bonucci missed the final remember and Marchisio was suspended for the one the year before that.”

    Glass half full

    “We’re in a great position in all competitions with just a couple of months of the season left. We’ve a chance to reach the Coppa Italia final, the Champions League semi-finals and we’re in pole position for the Scudetto. We couldn’t be doing any better than that for the time being.

    “As a rule of thumb, I hate negativity. Together, we’ve played a Champions League final, won two Coppa Italia trophies and two Serie A titles. You can occasionally draw the odd match, but the most important thing is reaching one’s own objectives.

    “Only one team can win a given competition and it’s impossible to win forever, but what we have to take into account is the growth of this club both in Italy and on an international level. We’ve earned the respect of the rest of Europe and that counts for a great deal.”

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