Juventus
    16.02.2017 13:20 - in: Serie A S

    Allegri: “Three points a priority against Palermo”

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    Massimiliano Allegri insists that Juve need to be fully focused on tomorrow’s match at home to Palermo before turning attentions to next Wednesday’s Champions League encounter against Porto

    Perfect approach required for Palermo 

    “Palermo have improved a great deal since the arrival of Diego Lopez as manager. At home, they’ve recorded one victory, a draw and a defeat under his stewardship.

    “He has made them more organised and compact, which means we will need to be quick to find and exploit space on the pitch.

    “We can’t already be thinking about next week’s Champions League match against Porto because we need to be fully focused on securing three points tomorrow night.

    “League titles are won and lost on fixtures such as these. We’ve 14 league games left and any mistake could be extremely costly, so our mental approach needs to be spot on. The boys are mature enough to know all of this.”

    Team news for tomorrow

    “Miralem Pjanic is in good shape. I haven't heard anything to the contrary from the medical staff. Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli are on the mend, meanwhile, and I'll find out between tomorrow and Sunday if they're available for Porto.

    “Leonardo Bonucci will be making his 300th appearance for Juventus against Palermo. Leo is an established pillar in our defence and the best thing is that he’s still room for improvement. One of Medhi Benatia and Daniele Rugani will play alongside him.

    “Tomorrow will give Dani Alves an opportunity to improve his condition. He’s a winner with great character and now has a few months to integrate fully in the team. Stephan Lichtsteiner has been doing very well in the meantime.

    “Regarding the midfield, Stefano Sturaro will be featuring, either from the first whistle or as a substitute. I still need to make a call on Sami Khedira’s involvement tomorrow. Sami is a very intelligent player and reads the game brilliantly. Claudio Marchisio also performed well against Cagliari, though he’s yet to reach peak condition following his injury.

    “Without Mario Mandzukic tomorrow, we could either go with three men in midfield or stay with four up front and one of Marko Pjaca and Sturaro plays in Mandzukic’s left forward position.

    “Between the sticks, Gianluigi Buffon is a certainty to start against Palermo.”

    Improvement the aim ahead of Porto

    “We need to make sure that we’re completely on top of our game for the Champions League knockout stages. Mentally, we need to be as strong as the likes of Real Madrid, Psg, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

    “Porto too are a formidable team with great technical ability and vast experience in Europe.

    “This is the moment in which we must improve our quality of play, not least the speed of passing, because we’ve the players of the right calibre to do so.”

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