Juventus
    Juventus
      09.04.2017 00:17 - in: Serie A S

      Allegri confident ahead of Barcelona encounter

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      “We know we have a very good chance of going through. Chievo was one of the hardest games of the season after two energy-sapping matches with Napoli”

      After Juventus racked up a 32nd consecutive home win in Serie A with victory over Chievo, Massimiliano Allegri was ready to look ahead to Tuesday's meeting with Barcelona.

      “We head into a big month high on enthusiasm and determined to go all the way," the boss began following Saturday's 2-0 triumph at Juventus Stadium.

      “As for Barcelona, we just need to go out there and play our game without giving it too much thought. We must be ready for it – it's a Champions League quarter-final after all.

      “We have a lot of respect for Barcelona but we'll go into the tie knowing we have a very good chance of going through. It's two matches and we'll have to be on our game both defensively and going forward – like in any football match.”

      While the Bianconeri have been buoyed by another three points in Serie A, Barcelona will arrive in Turin smarting after suffering a 2-0 reverse at the hands of Malaga on Saturday night – not that Allegri is reading too much into it.

      “It doesn't change anything. Barcelona are used to playing big matches like this and with the players they have - Messi, Suarez, Neymar, Iniesta, Mascherano and the rest - they rarely get this sort of game wrong. We'll need to up the tempo and make it really tough for them.

      “We came into this game against Chievo on the back of two matches against Napoli that were very intense both from a physical and a mental point of view. I think we looked a tad jaded in the first half. We improved after the break, but we really should have put the match to bed earlier.

      “I think it was one of the hardest games of the season because it came after two energy-sapping matches.”

      If Juve were able to get the better of Chievo, it was thanks in no small part to their front pairing as Paulo Dybala wreaked havoc amongst the opposition backline and laid on two assists which Gonzalo Higuain gratefully gobbled up.

      “Dybala and Higuain are in good shape," Allegri continued. "Gonzalo came back a week early from international duty and was able to train well. He's in fine fettle now.”

      The coach went on to discuss the possibility of seeing Mario Mandzukic back in action on Tuesday.

      “Mario has trained twice, yesterday and today. I'll have another look at him tomorrow and see if he's fit enough to play.

      “In any case we had several players out there tonight who didn't play in midweek. We're able to rotate the squad and keep on picking up results. Having fresh legs to bring on can make all the difference at this crucial stage.”

      Finally, Allegri commented on Juve's efficiency at both ends of the pitch.

      “Football's a very simple game because you have just two things to do: defend and attack. The trick is doing both of them well.

      “It's not the end of the world if you're not firing on all cylinders going forward because keeping things tidy at the back can be just as important as attacking well. It's the end result that counts and you can achieve it in lots of different ways.

      “If you want to see a show, you go to the circus; we're in the business of winning games and picking up points.

      “I have some great players capable of winning matches single-handedly but that's not enough in itself because every game is different. We might not always be as spectacular as other teams but what matters is being in the mix at the end and winning the league.”

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