24.02.2018 12:45 - in: Serie A S

    Allegri: Big stretch starts here

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    Allegri knows full focus is required as an all-important stretch begins after a week off

    After a first full seven days between matches since January’s winter break, Massimiliano Allegri held his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s Juve-Atalanta matchup at Allianz Stadium.

    It’s the start of an all-important stretch of four matches in eleven days in three competitions that will have two key Serie A matches plus decisive Coppa Italia and UEFA Champions League second legs. Here’s what the Mister had to say on Saturday in Vinovo:


    “It will be difficult for [Gonzalo] Higuain to play tomorrow and [Federico] Bernardeschi, as we have said, will be re-evaluated in a couple weeks. If therapy has done well for him, then good otherwise we’ll have to decide whether to operate or not.

    [Blaise] Matuidi is all well and available, same with [Mario] Mandzukic. Mattia De Sciglio has a problem with his adductor and will be re-evaluated next week. [Benedikt] Howedes is available while [Juan] Cuadrado is working but still far from a return."

    "Matuidi and Pjanic will start and then we’ll see between [Stefano] Sturaro, [Claudio] Marchisio and [Rodrigo] Bentancur."

    "Tomorrow, [Gianluigi] Buffon will play like I said before the Torino match when he would have a break. [Stephan] Lichtsteiner will play and I’ll choose between Benatia and Rugani."


    "I’ll have to evaluate [whether Dybala starts] because we have four games between now and Tottenham. It’s unthinkable after 40-45 days out, playing 30 minutes against Torino, that he could play 90 minutes for every game, like the other players, so I’ll have to manage everyone at the best. Especially Dybala, however, to get him at an optimal condition because we are at a decisive moment of the season."



    "Tomorrow, we have a few games all in a row and the team knows what it has to do, so it’s not so much that it takes a lot of time to prepare the plan for matches but more of a recovery physically and mentally.

    We’re coming from a bit of a longer break this week so we need to be focused with our heads right because sometimes weeks like this can be dangerous if you disconnect because when you play every three days you’re always plugged in with no time to detach."


    "We have to compliment Atalanta for how they played in Europa League and how they’re doing in the league because now Atalanta is an established squad in Serie A and holding their own in Europe. I’m sorry that they went out and Napoli too because we always want Italian teams to go forward in Europe.

    Tomorrow Atalanta surely will come in with a desire to bounce back and then Wednesday they have an opportunity like us to make a final. They’re a physical team, difficult to play against and a team that has scored ten times on dead balls and fourth in aerial duels won in the league. We’ll have to face them in the best way because tomorrow starts a cycle that leads all the way to the SPAL match without a break."

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