17 October 2015
Massimiliano Allegri says the Bianconeri must be on their game when they line up against early pacesetters Inter Milan at the San Siro, but insists the outcome of tomorrow’s Derby d’Italia will not have a bearing on the ultimate destiny of this season’s Scudetto honours.
The Nerazzurri, who sit second in Serie A on 16 points behind Fiorentina, have made an encouraging start to the campaign and will be looking to underline their title credentials with a positive result against the reigning champions.
As such, Allegri appreciates that a top performance will be required if Juventus are to come away from Milan with a vital three points to reignite their own ambitions of Scudetto glory.
Speaking to the media in Vinovo, the boss began: “This is by no means an all-or-nothing match. We do need to be realistic at the moment. We have to aim to get to March and be in with a shout for the Scudetto but tomorrow’s game is not going to decide who wins the title.”
“It’s a fantastic one to be involved in - it’s the Derby d’Italia. We’ll be playing in front of 80,000 people plus everyone else watching on TV around the globe. There’s plenty of incentive for us to do well. We must make sure we perform strongly and play the right way. We can’t go to Milan and not be on our game.”
Allegri has the luxury of a full complement of players for the short journey south to Lombardy, meaning recent injury worries Claudio Marchisio, Mario Mandzukic and Alvaro Morata are all in contention for a starting berth.
The recent international break has however taken its toll on certain members of the squad, and the Tuscan tactician admitted he will have to give his team selection careful thought after putting his men through their paces for the final time this afternoon.
“Tomorrow, for the first time this season, I’ll have more or less everyone available for selection. However, they don’t all have the same level of fitness as some have played more than others.
“We need to look at everyone’s condition, especially our players returning from overseas duty and those who had been sidelined. We have some international players who haven’t recovered properly yet and there are some injured players I need to assess today, although they’ve all been able to work with the squad.”
With Inter the first hurdle of a congested run of fixtures over the coming month, the return to full training of several key names arrives at a vital time for Allegri.
And with the momentum of back-to-back wins over Sevilla and Bologna to pick up from, he is confident the Bianconeri, bolstered by these fresh legs, have what it takes to string together a positive streak of results.
“We need to be patient but at the same time we need to get a run of results going because it’s a long season - fortunately. We just need to get everyone in decent shape again. We have a big month ahead with Champions League and Serie A fixtures on the horizon. We’re all together again. The games will be coming thick and fast so some players will need to be rested and others will play a bit more than they have so far.
“It will take a little while but we need to get the right combination of time, results and good football. I think there’s a natural process of growth in this team, which as you know has seen ten new players arrive.”