14.01.2017 13:00 - in: Serie A S

      Allegri: "First of a crucial run of fixtures"

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      "We're playing at a good level with plenty of room for improvement. Alex Sandro is back, Chiellini a doubt."

      At the halfway point

      "We've made a great start to the campaign but that's not enough. We want to end the term in style by winning the league and we'll see what happens in the Champions League and Coppa Italia. Our goal is to win every trophy possible and to continue improving the way we play. We're still looking for the balance to click between scoring goals and defending well at the other end."

      Room for improvement

      "We're 18 games into the season and we've amassed a respectable points tally in Serie A while reaching the Champions league last 16 as group winners. Nonetheless, there are still plenty of areas in which to improve, not least our management of games when we take the lead. Take Atalanta for example: we were fantastic going forward but we ought not have conceded and allowed them back into the contest.

      "When we defend with focus, it can be near impossible to even get a shot on target against us and we must look to rediscover that level of solidity in the next few weeks. Defending well is nothing to be ashamed of: the goals you score are only as important as the ones you don't concede."

      Focus on Fiorentina

      "Fiorentina are a dangerous side for the way the set up and they players have at their disposal. It will be a tough game since this fixture is the Viola's most important one of the season. Let's hope we're in for a good night of football contested by two top teams."

      Selection headaches

      "With the players we have available, 3-5-2 is the best fit at the moment so you could say it's both a matter of choice and necessity. We've played a lot of games already this season so I will need to assess who is match-fit for tomorrow.

      "Chiellini will be looked at closely today since he was unwell yesterday. Barzagli has featured twice since returning from injury and Lichtsteiner is suspended so I'd be turning to one of either Barza, Cuadrado or Sturaro to slot in at full-back if we wanted to play with four at the back. Ultimately, it is the way we go about our business that is the most important factor, regardless of how we line up on the field."

      Full squad at hand

      "Chiellini aside, we've got pretty much everyone available, including Alex Sandro; assuming nothing goes wrong in training today, he'll be starting the match tomorrow. Cuadrado's presence in the side doesn't preclude Pjanic's; one or both will almost certainly feature.

      "Whether it's Mandzukic or Sturaro or whoever, leaving guys out is difficult at the moment since we're on a very good run of form in the league. It's a nice problem to have as a coach, I'm confident that whoever steps in will do a great job for us."

      "Mandzukic? Top class."

      "Mario's track record speaks for itself and he has demonstrated his quality all over Europe with Bayern, Atletico and now Juventus. He is a top class player. He showed his professionalism on Wednesday in the Coppa Italia to put to bed any doubts about that side of his game. He was fabulous."

      Evra talks ongoing

      "Evra is a great professional. We've spoken about his future together and he is still weighing up his options. His situation is not causing any trouble whatsoever."


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