18.09.2018 20:20 - in: Champions League S

    Allegri: “Top performance required tomorrow”

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    The Bianconeri boss urges his players to hit the ground running in Wednesday’s Champions League opener

    One step at a time

    “We are among the four or five favourites to win the Champions League this year, but that doesn’t mean anything. We need to concentrate on each game at a time, starting with tomorrow, which is far from straightforward. Valencia are a tough outfit and especially strong at home.

    “Our objective is to consistently be among the top four clubs in the competition, but we all know that it only takes a split-second to change the course of events, so we must be fully focused throughout.”

    Growing in confidence

    “We have Cristiano Ronaldo in our ranks this year, who – alongside Lionel Messi – has been one of the top two players on the planet in recent years.

    “His arrival has only strengthened our self-confidence, which was already on the up after we reached two of the last four Champions League finals. We know that we're in with a shout this time around too.”

    Squad selection

    “Tomorrow I can confirm the centre-back partnership of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, while down the flanks I have Joao Cancelo, Alex Sandro and Juan Cuadrado to pick from.

    “In attack, one from Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala will start, while Federico Bernardeschi could also feature from the first whistle.”

    To the defence of Douglas

    “On Sunday, Douglas Costa had a moment of blackout that should not happen, but it happens to everyone. He will pay the price with a four-match suspension and the club won’t be appealing against it. 

    “It means that we’ll be without him in the league for a month and a half, so we’ve suffered as a team, whilst he is in shock at the minute because it is something very uncharacteristic of him and his usual high standards of fair play. He is very sorry, surprised and over time, he’ll have the chance to show that it was not his usual behaviour.”

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