Massimiliano Allegri says Juventus must claim all three points against Olympiacos on Tuesday night if they are to stand any chance of extending their Champions League adventure beyond the group stages.
With one win from their opening three fixtures, the Bianconeri have the opportunity to rekindle their European aspirations on home turf and Allegri believes the supporters in particular will have an important role to play.
Previewing the game in Vinovo, the 47-year-old began: “Tomorrow will be an important test for us against a side who play decent football. They have beaten both us and Atletico Madrid at home, so we’ll need to tackle the match with plenty of concentration and intensity.
“Our qualification chances will pretty much be decided over the 95 minutes. Anything can happen in football, but I’d say it’s a must-win game as far as we’re concerned.
“The fans have been brilliant so far. Tomorrow we’ll all have to dig deep and produce a great atmosphere. You always need to be positive and there’s every reason to be so: we’re capable of winning the game.”
A below par first half in Athens ultimately proved the Bianconeri’s undoing when the two sides last met a fortnight ago, and Allegri appreciates his men will have to raise their game if they are to exact revenge at Juventus Stadium.
“We need to play a completely different game. Our passing in the first half was sloppy and it’s important we show greater intensity given our home advantage. Having said that, we have 95 minutes to get the three points. We need to be composed and remain patient, making the most of all the time we’ve got to claim the right result.
However, he believes talk of a ‘European complex’ engulfing the team to be wide of the mark, pointing to the two recent away performances as proof of his point.
“I wouldn’t say that we’re suffering from a ‘European complex’. We’ve put in excellent performances so far and didn’t deserve to leave empty-handed from Madrid and Athens. In the last game, we missed chances in front of goal and their goalkeeper had a blinder. We’ve got three points on the board and need to put this right.”
The reigning Serie A champions head into tomorrow’s game with question marks hanging over the respective conditions of Kwadwo Asamoah and Angelo Ogbonna, who both took knocks during Saturday’s 2-0 triumph over Empoli.
The Tuscan tactician says he will wait until the last possible minute before confirming his starting line-up, but backed Simone Padoin to be a reliable replacement should both be forced to miss out.
“We’ll see how Asamoah and Ogbonna are and I’ll choose my team based on their fitness. If both are unavailable, Padoin can quite happily fill in on the left-hand side. He played well when he came on in Empoli and is a solid performer both technically and tactically speaking.
“As far as my strikers are concerned, Morata did well in Empoli and scored, but Llorente’s also in decent nick. I’ll make my decision tomorrow.”