Quick on the heels of the November international break, the Bianconeri have two home fixtures of major importance on the menu in the shape of Saturday evening’s showdown with Milan and next Wednesday’s enticing Champions League encounter against Manchester City.
While a win tomorrow would see Juventus overtake the Rossoneri in the Serie A table, another three points in midweek would seal their progress to the knockout stages and Massimiliano Allegri has urged his men to give everything in order to achieve both objectives.
Speaking to the media ahead of the first of these contests to be played at Juventus Stadium, he began: “I think we have to approach the next four days with lots of passion, desire and, above all, enthusiasm because we have the chance to leapfrog our opponents in the league tomorrow and secure Champions League qualification on Wednesday.
“We’re not there yet, regardless of what people are saying. AC Milan are on the back of three wins and a draw and are on a good run, although I’d say we’re both still some way off the top.”
Of the players that Allegri has welcomed back to training this week, Paul Pogba, Patrice Evra and Sami Khedira all played last Friday evening in Paris when the tragic attacks took place across the French capital.
Asked about the trio’s involvement in the international friendly between France and Germany, the Tuscan tactician commented: “I thought a great deal about those three in particular this week and what they went through, along with everyone else who was there at the time.”
Turning his attentions back to tomorrow’s match, Allegri stressed the need to defend better as a unit and cut out the mistakes that have led to his side falling behind to their opponents’ maiden shots on target in seven of their opening 12 league games this season.
“We need to make sure to provide better protection to our backline so as not to leave it too vulnerable to the counter-attack. It’s also true that we’ve been conceding from our opposition’s first attempts on goal, which has not helped matters.”
Wrapping up the interview, the 48-year-old coach reserved special praise for club captain Gigi Buffon, who yesterday reached a magnificent milestone, that of his 20th anniversary since making his professional debut, incidentally against the Rossoneri while wearing the colours of Parma.
“Gigi has written important chapters in the history of the game and is one of the all-time great goalkeepers. His unwavering drive and determination to keep training and playing at such a high level are testament to his winning mentality and he’s a role model to everyone.”