Massimiliano Allegri has urged Juventus to keep their foot firmly on the accelerator as they prepare to embark on another important run of Serie A and Champions League games that could have a telling impact on the destiny of their season.
After stealing an early march on closest challengers Roma in their last encounter, the league leaders return to action against basement boys Sassuolo tomorrow night at the Mapei Stadium.
And despite the bookmakers having Juventus down as clear favourites for victory over the relegation threatened Neroverdi, Allegri insists there must be no room for complacency against Eusebio Di Francesco’s attack-minded outfit.
Speaking to the media in Vinovo, the 47-year-old began: “It’s an important game for us and we’ve got a fundamental month ahead. Not just in the championship, but in also in the Champions League where the double-header with Olympiacos will be decisive in the race to get out of the group.
“We need to pick up where we left off, but tomorrow won’t be straightforward by any stretch of the imagination. Sassuolo may have just three points on the board as it stands, yet they’re very strong in forward areas and possess everything that’s required to stay up and maintain their top flight status.”
With Roma eager to bounce back from the disappointment of their reverse in Turin, Allegri warned his men of the pitfalls of letting their guard down in the coming months.
“We need to stay focused. I don’t expect Roma to slip up because they’re an excellent team and seldom drop points. Not winning in Sassuolo would undo our good work in claiming victory against the Giallorossi.”
The manager confirmed Arturo Vidal will miss out on the trip to Reggio Emilia, explaining the need for the midfielder to be firing on all cylinders for Wednesday night’s Champions League meeting with Olympiacos.
“Vidal won’t be in the squad because he played two 90-minute matches for Chile on international duty. I need him and a glance at the figures reveals he’s trained a lot less than the rest of the team. I would prefer to leave him here to work in Turin, given that we have an important game in Athens on Wednesday.”
When quizzed on his potential strike pairing for Saturday evening, Allegri explained the thinking behind his decision to keep faith with Fernando Llorente, who he hopes will follow up last year’s exploits at the Mapei Stadium by opening his account for the campaign tomorrow.
He concluded: “It’s likely I’ll go with Tevez and Llorente up front tomorrow. Fernando has yet to get off the mark this season, but he’s worked very well with the team. The only thing he’s lacking is a goal, which perhaps could come tomorrow.”