19 August 2023
Serie A returns after almost two and a half months, with Juventus travelling to Udinese for their first match of the 2023/24 campaign, scheduled to take place at 20:45 CEST on Sunday evening at the Udinese Arena.
Like the fans, Coach Massimiliano Allegri is looking forward to the season's start, sharing his thoughts with the media in the first pre-match presser of the season: "We are very happy to start the championship. There's always great anticipation when you have to play your first league game. Tomorrow will be the first of a long journey that will end on May 25th. We will start to get serious and we will have to be ready for this first appointment."
The Coach touched on several points in answering the journalists' questions, a re-cap of which you can read below.
"I am very happy with the squad I have available, with how the group is working and how we have prepared, between Turin and the United States. Now with the matches that start to count, it will be completely different from those played in pre-season."
LACK OF EUROPEAN FOOTBALL
"We are very disappointed not to be able to play in the European cups, and the Champions League in particular. It's never nice not participating, also because we had achieved our qualification on the field. We will have to transform the bitterness into positive energy and anger to give everything in the league and in the Italian Cup. Technically, not having the commitment in the middle of the week will allow us to have more days to work on the pitch and, consequently, to prepare for the matches that await us. We'll try to exploit this aspect to our advantage, but I don't think it's an advantage to not play in European competitions."
"We have excellent relations with Cristiano Giuntoli and Giovanni Manna, I get along very well with them both. Cristiano has fully integrated into our set-up since he arrived. He was very well-received and found a group that was available and prepared to work. He is a very important figure within the Club."
"In addition to Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic, we can count on excellent players such as Arek Milik, Moise Kean - who unfortunately will not be called up for Udine because he is still recovering from a knock - and Kenan Yildiz. Kenan comes from the Youth Sector, he's a very interesting prospect who has shown his qualities, and there are many. I am very happy and satisfied with the players I have at my disposal."
"Usually whoever won the championship the year before always starts as favourites, so Napoli starts ahead of all the other teams. Then there are many other excellent teams: Inter are strong, Lazio and Milan are no different. It is too early to make predictions now, Serie A has yet to start. What I can say is that we will have to improve our away performance because last season this was the big difference with Napoli."
THE MATCH VS UDINE
"Nicolo Fagioli has trained well and is available, so I will evaluate his use tomorrow. On the flanks I have four players for two spots, so this afternoon I'll have to decide. Tomorrow the changes from the bench will be fundamental because it will be the first official match and it will also be very hot. Paul Pogba's presence in the squad will be decided after today's training."
NATIONAL TEAM COACH
"Roberto Mancini did an excellent job with the national team, even winning a European Championship. I wish Luciano Spalletti all the best in this new role, which is an important assignment that was given to him after winning the Scudetto last year."