Massimiliano Allegri says he is confident his men have what it takes to produce the goods against Chievo and come away with all three points in tomorrow’s encounter at the Stadio Bentegodi.
Victory in Verona would lift Juventus into top spot and put pressure on Napoli to maintain their grip on the summit by claiming a positive result against Empoli later that afternoon.
The Bianconeri’s Tuscan tactician appreciates his men have a duty to seize the moment and is backing them to get the job done against testing opposition at an unusual kick-off time of 12.30 CET.
Speaking to the media in Vinovo today, Allegri began: “For the first time tomorrow, as we're playing first, we have a chance to go top temporarily. We're all very clear about what our targets are so it would be dangerous to start easing up now.
“I have a squad of very responsible players and I'm sure they'll produce a great performance tomorrow, certainly in terms of getting their approach right. Then we'll see if we're good enough to claim the three points on the pitch.
“It will be a tricky game because Chievo put in an awful lot of running and they play very good football too. We're playing at 12:30 so we need to get up nice and early tomorrow and be ready in time for the match.”
For the trip to Verona Allegri can count on the return of Roberto Pereyra to bolster his options, with the midfielder back in the matchday squad for the first time since late October.
This positive news comes at a welcome moment given yesterday’s verdicts on Kwadwo Asamoah and Mario Mandzukic, who are expected to be out for up to a month after sustaining injuries in Wednesday’s Coppa Italia triumph over Inter.
“I have most of the squad available at the moment and that's a good thing. A week ago I thought I'd give Pereyra a few more days to recover but he's made good progress in the last week so he's available for selection tomorrow.
“Sadly, we've lost Mandzukic and Asamoah for a while but hopefully we can get them back as soon as possible. We’ll try and get Manduzkic fit in time for our Champions League game. If not, he’ll play the second leg.”
While anticipation of the Bianconeri’s mouthwatering Champions League last 16 double header against Bayern Munich is increasingly rising with February just around the corner, Allegri is calling on his troops to remain fully focused on domestic matters for the time being.
He concluded: “We must maintain our focus – ignoring any paper talk – on the league and the Coppa Italia. It would be great if we could reach the final for the second year running and try to go all the way in the Champions League this year.”