Allegri: “This Juve-Inter is extra important”
“The Derby d’Italia is a special fixture and this year’s is extra important, as we’re taking on the current league leaders, who are doing extremely well. We have to put in a big performance and also have some luck on our side in order to bring home all three points.
“Tomorrow will not decide who wins the Scudetto, but Juve and Inter are two teams that will fight for the title until the very end of the season. The big head-to-head matches will have a larger impact on the league standings than in previous years. That is because our main rivals have upped their games and we too need to do the same in order to retain our crown.”
INTER ON TOP FORM
“Inter are defending brilliantly at the minute and have shown real physical strength and fighting spirit throughout the side. Like us, they conceded more goals towards the start of the season, but they’re far more organised now and going very well.
“Luciano Spalletti is doing a great job following on from his achievements with Roma. He is a manager who gets the very best out of the players and resources at his disposal. That is the most important quality to have for any manager: to not be bound by systems, but to maximise the characteristics of your players.”
“I still need to make a final decision on my team and formation for tomorrow's match. [Gianluigi] Buffon is unlikely to feature. We need to make a call on his availability during this afternoon’s training session.
“A few of our players are not quite in peak condition, such as [Miralem] Pjanic and [Paulo] Dybala. Looking ahead, we'll have more time to strengthen the team’s condition.
“[Mario] Mandzukic had not been able to train for a few days, hence why he's not been playing of late, but he's been working hard and getting back to full fitness again.
“Meanwhile over the last month and a half, [Gonzalo] Higuain is physically stronger than before and his performances and goals are testament to that."
HARD WORK AND SACRIFICE
“The boys have understood just how important this period of our season is and they’ve taken on responsibility for their actions. In order to reach the objectives you set yourselves, hard work and sacrifice are essential.
“In the big games we’ve played recently we’ve done very well at managing the different moments during matches. Winning away to Napoli was a step in the right direction to ensure that we stayed within touching distance of the top. Meanwhile in Athens we achieved our first objective of the season: that of reaching the Champions League knockout rounds.”