Coach’s comments ahead of rare Monday night game
Juventus go into their Monday night fixture against Udinese sitting seven points off league leaders Inter Milan, and facing the pressure of seeing that lead extended even more should they slip up even slightly.
Speaking during his pre-match press conference, coach Massimiliano Allegri insisted that the loss in the Derby D’Italia last weekend wasn’t a season-breaker in any sense.
“We must try to get back to winning ways tomorrow against a team that in terms of quality and performance does not deserve to be in its current position. Udinese are a physical side with players like Lorenzo Lucca, Florian Thauvin and Lazar Samardzic who provide technique and a good shot on target.
“Look, it is no secret that Inter were the favourites for the Scudetto. We picked up 53 points, we must get back to winning ways tomorrow and break away from fifth place. Inter are doing extraordinary things, I think they won all seven competitive games in 2024. We just have to keep taking it one step at a time.”
The Nerazzuri came from behind yesterday to beat AS Roma 4-2 to stretch that lead to seven points with both teams on the same number of games played now.
“Their win ought to make us even more motivated to get back to minus four. You can lose a head-to-head, it happens, and one match should not make us throw away all the good work done in these months. If anything, we learned a great deal from that game.
“I analysed it, that was a balanced encounter, there was a Federico Dimarco chance, the Marcus Thuram goal, but then we wasted the Vlahovic opportunity. It was wide open after the break, we threatened both to score and concede.
“At this moment, the strongest team is at the top of the table. I’ve said from the start Inter were the favourites and they will be to the end. We just have to focus on our own journey and getting back on track after one point from two games.”
Allegri provided a squad update, with the news that Dusan Vlahovic would miss the game.
“Vlahovic has nothing major, it is just a strained adductor, but he ought to be available next week. We’ll bring Cerri in from the Next Gen side, tomorrow I will choose between Federico Chiesa and Kenan Yildiz. Federico had injury problems last year, a few more setbacks this season, but he is an important player for Juventus and we expect a lot from him.”
Despite making his debut for Juve last weekend, January signing Carlos Alcaraz won’t go directly into the starting lineup tomorrow.
“No, he only arrived a week ago. He has quality and the potential to improve, so will be of use towards the end of the season.”
Tomorrow will mark Allegri’s 405th match in charge of Juventus, equaling the mark of legendary manager Marcello Lippi.
“We’ll try to end the season well first, I have another year on my contract. In our job, we always depend on the results that we achieve. I am satisfied to match someone like Lippi who made history with Italian football and with Juventus, especially as I am fond of him personally. However, we have a game to win and the fact it is the 405th is irrelevant.”