JUVE Coach Warns Champions League Foes: We’re Alive, Kicking And Ready For Next round’
Massimiliano Allegri dismissed reports his side were like the walking dead, warning that Juventus are ready to achieve their first target of the season by reaching the Champions League last 16 against Manchester United today.
“I read in the papers that I had eleven injured and we had dead players. It’s not true, I only have two out, really, and I hope to have (Federico) Bernardeschi back against AC Milan (on Sunday),” said the Juventus coach.
“As for the others, (Mario) Mandzukic and Sami Khedira are available.”
Juventus won the first leg 1-0 at Old Trafford thanks to a Paulo Dybala goal.
But Allegri warned: “We must be careful, we need a better performance than the one we had in Manchester, they can be dangerous at any moment and there’s a lot at stake.
“Tomorrow we have the chance to reach our first target for the season by qualifying for the next round of the Champions League, then we’ll dive into Serie A.
“It’s important to try and get to March in very good shape to be fully competitive to win the Scudetto (league title), the Champions League and the Italian Cup.
“There is also the Super Cup on January 16 against Milan.”
Allegri hinted he could deploy a three-pronged attack, with Cristiano Ronaldo flanked by Juan Cuadrado and Dybala.
Ronaldo, who has hit seven goals in Serie A, is still waiting to score for Juventus in the Champions League having been sent off in Valencia, sparking a one-game suspension for Young Boys.
“Ronaldo will play. He has more or less only played one game so far and he managed to get an assist. I hope that he will score tomorrow,” added Allegri.
Juventus are the undisputed leaders of their Champions League group with three wins in as many games.
In the league they lead by six points having won ten gams out of 11, conceding only eight goals, which concerns Allegri despite United coach Jose Mourinho claiming Giorgio Chiellini could teach defending at Harvard.
Defender Leonardo Bonucci also attended the press conference a few days before he faces former club AC Milan.
“I’m so lucky to be back here and reverse the trend,” said Bonucci, who spent one unhappy season in Milan.
“Juve has much more self-confidence and much more experience.
“The work of the manager is to raise the bar and the Champions League is one of the big objectives,” said Bonucci. — AFP