An intense run of fixtures, a final outing before the break against a side eager to bounce back, for Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus should be taking absolutely nothing for granted in their trip to Chievo on Sunday.
Speaking in this afternoon’s pre-match press conference, the Tuscan was keen to stress that while tomorrow’s hosts are on a poor run of form, victory will not come easy at the Stadio Bentegodi.
The objective in Verona is clear: win at all costs and ensure the Bianconeri enter the winter in the best possible condition for a continued assault on both Serie A and Champions League top spots.
Here are the key quotes from the Tuscan’s media meeting in Vinovo:
"I am yet to decide on my formation for tomorrow afternoon primarily due to the current uncertainty around the fitness of Leonardo Bonucci, who, like Miralem Pjanic, we’ll be assessing fully before the game to see if they are in the right shape to play.
"Claudio Marchisio also is under consideration; as I’ve said before, it would be foolish to rush him back prematurely having been injured so long. Cruciate ligaments are such that you can enjoy a full 90 minutes once week but then need to be rested the next.
"The key thing is to avoid Claudio picking up something elsewhere: we are only three months into the campaign and we’re looking for the team to hit maximum fitness and form around the turn of the year.
"Given the intense run of fixtures we’ve had since the last international break, I’ll almost certainly be shuffling the pack for Chievo. That said, we’ll very likely be going with Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic up front since we’re not expecting to see Paulo Dybala and Marko Pjaca back for at least another couple of weeks."
"On paper, there aren't many sides in worse form than Chievo at the moment, especially after they were defeated by Crotone last time out, but that doesn’t mean it will be an easy match for us.
"Undoubtedly, they will be looking to bounce back straight away and there’s no better time for them to do that than at home in front of their own supporters against the league leaders.
"This will be a big game for Juve because we’re coming off the back of a streak of six matches in all competitions, four of which were physically and mentally draining.
"Tomorrow we’re going up against a team that is very well organised, as all groups coached by Rolando Maran are, and despite recent results, they are very difficult to beat on home turf. For the amount of work they get through in 90 minutes, not many teams run harder than Chievo so we will need to match them on that front."
Taking stock before the break
"All that matters to me at this point is that we’re still picking up good results and, sitting top of Serie A and with our destiny in our own hands in the Champions Leagye, we are in a relatively strong position.
"It’s normal that by November you aren’t producing your very best performances, not least when you consider the fact that of our outfield starting XI, we’ve made arguably more changes than most in the league. The likes of Higuain, Pjanic and Dani Alves have all brought completely new characteristics to the group and so will need time to truly bed in."
"You have to expect that you won’t steamroll everyone every week; we’re still right on track to achieve our objectives for the season."