Massimiliano Allegri and Giorgio Chiellini faced the world’s media this afternoon at a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s Super Cup at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium. Here’s what they had to say on tomorrow’s game.
Allegri & Chiellini: “We want to lift the trophy”
Update on the team
“One of Douglas Costa or Federico Bernardeschi will play in place of Mario Mandzukic and both Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala will play. An important change off the bench could be Moise Kean. Joao Cancelo is doing well, just like all of our midfielders, which gives me reason for hope ahead of our upcoming fixtures. Either Sami Khedira or Rodrigo Bentancur will start.”
Previous Super Cup losses
“It’s hard to say why. We lost two on penalties to Napoli and AC Milan and in the other we managed to come back from a losing position against Lazio. Tomorrow promises to be different and we will need a good performance. League form is put aside and it will be a big test – just like the cup game against Bologna and our opponents in the next round of the Coppa Italia, Atalanta. It will help us to prepare for the Round of 16 in the Champions League, as you need to approach knockout games in a different way.”
“We have to win to have evidence of it. If we manage to win trophies, Ronaldo will have improved us; otherwise he won’t. Clearly a player like him is a benefit to any team and you need to make the most of it. However, let’s not forget that in the past four years we’ve played two Champions League finals against the best teams in the world of that era.”
The importance of the defence
“In order to win tomorrow we’ll need a lot of humility and respect for our opponents, something that Juventus have proved we have. This approach ensures you concentrate on the defensive side of things and this is a quality we mustn’t lose because to win the big games you need an excellent defence.”
Crossing paths with Higuain again
“I expect to see Gonzalo concentrated and intent on taking revenge for the loss in Milan. We’ll have to do well to contain him.”
“Our aim is to try to win every competition. You need a bit of luck on your side to do that and especially so in the Champions League, because the level is so high and there are a number of teams that can go far.”
Juve v Milan in the Super Cup again
“A lot has changed in the last two years. We care about this trophy and we have to back this up with facts because in the last few years we’ve missed out on it too often, which is a shame. We want to buck the trend of the last two years losing this final. It’s a tough objective, we know that, but we want to start 2019 by lifting a trophy.”
The effect of playing in Saudi Arabia
“A couple of years ago we played a friendly here in Riyadh, but we didn’t see much beyond airports, hotels and pitches. Having a journey of this kind when you’ve just got back to training has been tiring for both teams, plus going from zero to 30 degrees isn’t easy. Nevertheless, we’re pleased we’ve come here to play and the welcome we’ve received has been perfect.
“I hope it’ll be a festival of sport, the locals can take away some nice memories of this event and our presence here can also represent a step forward for women. I was expecting the stadium to be a sell-out because the mere fact of hosting this game means the Saudi population had a great desire to watch football.”
“Gonzalo is a great striker, who helps his team to play well and is lethal himself. We need to do well to shut him down because he’s a confidence player and if he starts to create chances he can be devastating. We must try to keep him away from the ball and the goal. These games can change in a moment and in such a unique atmosphere as this, your mentality is vital. We’re very fond of him: he was a crucial team-mate for two years and we remember that.
“Patrick Cutrone can be very dangerous in the penalty area. He’s full of energy and at times his impact is devastating. We’re prepared for both eventualities, whether Higuain plays on his own or whether they play as a pair.”
“I hope he wants to win like all of us. He comes alive in matches like these and we all expect a great deal from him. I’ve seen how focused he is and how much he wants to be the main man tomorrow evening.”