Massimiliano Allegri has ordered his men to put any thoughts of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Malmo to the backs of their minds and focus solely on Saturday night’s return to Serie A action against Lazio.
After initially struggling to regain their momentum following the culmination of October’s international break, Juventus will want to put that right by firing on all cylinders when they run out at the Stadio Olimpico tomorrow evening.
During today’s meeting with the media, Allegri called on his charges to learn from previous mistakes made and pick up where they left off from the 7-0 demolition of Parma.
The 47-year-old said: “It’s our duty to focus solely on tomorrow’s game. We didn’t get out of the blocks after October’s international break, so we must take heed of that and burst out of the traps right away tomorrow, enabling us to be ready for Wednesday’s match.
“Do we have the potential to get into Europe’s top eight? Yes, but now the aim is to get through the group stages. Let’s get six points and win the group before speaking about anything else.”
Standing in the way of the Bianconeri and another priceless three points are a Lazio side with five wins from their last seven Serie A encounters.
In Allegri’s eyes, their defeat to Empoli in the last game before the international break will make them even more determined to return to winning ways with a noteworthy scalp in the form of Juventus, and therefore warned his men to be on their guard.
“Lazio are a physical, well drilled and extremely organised side. They possess quality players and can harbour ambitions of a third-place finish. They approach the game following a defeat and will be fired up to produce a response. It will be anything but straightforward for us.”
The league leaders approach Saturday’s showdown with a number of players still on the treatment table, but Allegri, who confirmed the availability of midfielders Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal, expects to see his ranks significantly bolstered within the next 10 days.
“Romulo’s groin problem is still there and he has good days and bad days. We’ll see if he’ll make it for Saturday. Evra’s almost there and will be back training with us on Sunday. Either he or Asamoah will definitely be available for Wednesday. Ogbonna should be back with us in midweek.
“We hope to have Caceres and Marrone fit after Torino, while Barzagli is still not yet able to join in with group training. Pirlo is training with the team and can play tomorrow night. Vidal returned yesterday evening, he’s in good shape and available.”
With defence the area most affected by injuries, Allegri would have just cause to lament his bad luck after seeing his rearguard depleted in recent weeks.
But the Tuscan tactician instead adopted a glass half-full approach, pointing to his side’s strong defensive record – the best in the division – as a particular source of comfort.
“It’s important to have a full squad to pick from, thus giving me the chance to rotate my players. We have many games to play and they need to be faced with the right intensity, so it would naturally be much better for me to have a full complement at my disposal.
“However, I think the team’s doing well at the moment, even if we’re a bit short in defence as far as numbers are concerned. But we’ve only conceded four goals and are still the division’s strongest rearguard, which is a comforting stat.”