Monday September 11 2017
Allegri: ‘Formation not important’

Juventus Coach Massimiliano Allegri dismisses questions over his formation for Barcelona - “the players’ characteristics are more important”.

The Bianconeri take on the Spanish side at Camp Nou tomorrow in the first match of their Champions League group, and the tactician was grilled over what approach he’ll take.

“There’s nothing to invent, you can only put 10 players on the pitch plus the goalkeeper,” Allegri shrugged in his pre-match Press conference.

“You need huge enthusiasm and unconsciousness, because when you play these games you need to be unconscious.

“Tomorrow I’ll choose the best 10 players to go out onto the pitch and try to cause problems for Barcelona, knowing that to go three games against Barcelona without conceding would be extraordinary.

“Since it’s difficult - really difficult, in fact - we’ll have to try and score. I can tell you [Andrea] Barzagli will play. I don’t know if it’ll be on the right, in the middle or on the left, but he’ll definitely play.

“More than the formation, it’s about the players’ characteristics. [Mario] Mandzukic is a player who maybe isn’t a winger, but he’s a player who we rely on a lot, he’s very important on high balls and set pieces.

“Tomorrow we could play with three midfielders and three up-front, or we could play with two in midfield with those same players on the park. Or we could have two strikers with one behind.

“I still need to decide, but the characteristics of the players on the pitch will allow me to vary things even during the game.

“[Federico] Bernardeschi has a chance of playing, that’s not to say he’ll play from the start but he has a chance of playing.

“On Saturday he came on for 20 minutes and did really well, he’s getting fit and he’s growing physically so he’s a player who can be useful tomorrow, either from the start or during the game.

“Tomorrow is a game we have to play with great clarity, with technical precision, especially when we’re going to press.

“When you have players like [Lionel] Messi, [Andres] Iniesta, [Luis] Suarez, [Ousmane] Dembele, [Gerard] Deulofeu, they’re always difficult to mark so we have to play a great game tomorrow.

“Barcelona have started very well in La Liga, they already have a gap over Real Madrid. Together with Madrid they’re favourites to win the Champions League.

“Are they less dangerous without Neymar? Neymar, along with Paulo [Dybala, also at the Press conference] are the two young players who will be the best in the world.

“At the moment they’re very close to Messi and Ronaldo. We’re only at the start of the season though, and they’ve replaced him with a young lad like Dembele.

“I’d still say that Barça are the strongest team today.”

Andres Iniesta has been linked with Juventus, but Allegri wouldn’t be drawn on the subject.

“At this time it makes no sense to talk about the transfer market, it closed 10 days ago. All I can say is that seeing Iniesta play is a pleasure for anyone who loves football.”