Juventus
    Juventus
      07.01.2017 13:00 - in: Serie A S

      Allegri: "Let's restart as we mean to go on"

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      Massimiliano Allegri calls on his team to demonstrate their title credentials against Bologna on Sunday night at Juventus Stadium

      First game back

      "The first match after the winter break is a tricky one. Picking up where you left off is always difficult, and these games are often like the first of a new season. Bologna returned to training before us and are a side that have always given us a run for our money by being very well organised and playing with commitment. It's a very important fixture for us; we want to maintain our advantage over Roma." 

      Doha in the past 

      "I have always sung the praises of this team and with good reason: they earned 100 points in 2016 with a game in hand, something that no other side in Europe achieved.

      "In Doha however, our management of the match was way off. We approached the game very well and played a strong first 35 minutes, after which we lost the plot and when there is a trophy up for grabs, that is unacceptable.

      "That said, these things can happen over the course of a season. Four days before then we had beaten Roma and Torino with real determination and spirit but in Doha we simply didn't get going at all.

      "Now is the time to kick on for the second half of the season and make sure we don't produce any more performances like that. We are still a long way from lifting the Scudetto and with Roma in hot pursuit, we must hit the ground running again tomorrow. 

      Eyes on the (sixth) prize

      "Our journey to the league title and to achieving something truly legendary begins in earnest tomorrow. Winning the Scudetto for a sixth consecutive time is our primary objective for the campaign. Next season, we either begin again by kicking off a new era or we focus our attention on making it seven; we would all obviously prefer the latter!

      "I've asked the players to focus only on our own results, developing the quality of our play and above all, improving the way we manage the closing stages of matches. Being in possession of the football does not equate to being in control and on this front, we can do much better. We've conceded 14 goals in 17 games and that means that we are presenting too many opportunities to our opponents."

      Team news

      "Neto will play in goal tomorrow, Buffon is unlikely to be even named in the matchday squad having only just returned to training after a bout of flu; we expect him to return for Fiorentina next weekend.

      "Chances are we will line up with four at the back for Bologna. Either Evra or Asamoah will slot in down the left side and Barzagli will probably feature too, he has made a full recovery from his shoulder problem.

      "In attack, Dybala will almost certainly start the match but I'm yet to decide on who will play with him. Paulo will be crucial part of our plans for the second half of the campaign, as will Pjaca.

      "Marko will be called up tomorrow and will almost certainly get some gametime in either of our two games in the next four days.

      "Alex Sandro and Bonucci are set to return in midweek for the Coppa Italia."

      A first look at Rincon?

      "Rincon is an excellent player, a fine professional and is in possession of all the characteristics this Juventus team needs. He can play in midfield or in front of the defence. I don't know if he will make his debut tomorrow; having only arrived last week, he needs time to settle in. He will be very useful addition for us and I'm pleased that he is now a part of our squad."

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