In the pre-match news conference ahead of the Champions League final, Massimiliano Allegri appeared calm, confident and determined, just as he did at the media day in Turin a few days ago and just as we have come to expect from the boss.
Allegri: “We’re here to win”
“Tomorrow’s game is something we’ve been working for all year. We need to do everything we can to bring the trophy home,” the coach said.
“Real are favourites, as the holders of the trophy. But we know what we’ve done and what we’ve built up to this point. Well bring everything they don’t have to this game. If they match us, then we’ll bring even more.”
Allegri says he is yet to decide on his starting line-up for the final but is mindful of the fact the game could go the distance: “The bench could prove more decisive than ever.
“Depending on how Real line up, we’ve prepared ways to counter them. There’s the choice between Gareth Bale and Isco. The latter plays more centrally and is more unpredictable, but he leaves the Real defence more exposed.”
HERE TO WIN
“It's a final and finals are there to be won. Everything we've done and achieved so far this season has been training for this match.
“Tomorrow we must play our own game, and not think about our opponents or the statistics. We'll need to read the various stages of the match carefully and play with desire, conviction and endeavour.
“Of course we'll need to be on our game technically too. Finals are decided by fine details. We have to stop our opponents from playing, harry them, play to our strengths and exploit their weaknesses.”
MARIO, GONZALO, PAULO, ALEX
“[Mario] Mandzukic has won lots in his career and that doesn't happen by chance.
“Gonzalo [Higuain] has been sensational this season. He's a top-class player with nothing to prove.
“[Paulo] Dybala has improved the mental side of his game immensely since last year and he's turned in some outstanding performances.
“Alex Sandro is up there with Marcelo as one of the best left-backs in the world.”
“There must be no pressure tomorrow. We mustn't think about doing the treble or rewriting the history books. This is a final and we must think about nothing but winning the game and leaving Cardiff with the trophy.
“We're a much better side than we were two years ago. We're have more self-confidence – a lot more. It doesn't often happen that a team reaches the final twice in three years.”
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