Friday January 26 2018
Allegri: ‘Chievo won’t be easy’

Max Allegri warns Chievo won’t be an easy game for Juventus, and notes “Napoli never had four 1-0 wins in the first 20 league games before”.

The Bianconeri play tomorrow, and will go top of Serie A with a win at the Bentegodi, at least until Maurizio Sarri’s men take to the pitch on Sunday afternoon.

“I don’t think there will be changes up-front,” Allegri explained in his pre-match Press conference.

“There will be changes in defence, but having said that tomorrow we have to face a Chievo side that recently may have been missing results, but not performances.

“Not to mention that every time Chievo have a game where they concede a lot of goals, like they did against Lazio, they always play well in the next match.

“They got a 0-0 with Roma after a bad defeat, they got a 0-0 with Napoli after a bad defeat, so tomorrow we just have to get the result to stretch away from those behind us and stay in Napoli’s slipstream.

“It won’t be easy, so we’ll need to play a good game on a mental level because playing in their home is never easy.

“They’re first in terms of aerial duels in the Italian league, they’re a physical team who do well on dead balls, so this is a serious game.

“Our performances? It’s clear that you get results through performances, but we have a team with different characteristics to those of Napoli, Roma, Inter, Real Madrid and Tottenham, who we play in 15 days.

“In that game we’ll find a team which, as well as being technical, is very physical.

“Napoli aren’t as physical a team so it’s normal that they have different characteristics, they play differently.

“This year, in addition to their nice game they’re getting excellent results because they’re top of the league with 54 points.

“I also don’t think Napoli have ever won 1-0 four times in the first 20 games, so they’ve changed a bit too. I hope they don’t learn too quickly.”

The Bianconeri have a number of injuries, and Allegri also gave an update on those players.

“[Claudio] Marchisio worked partly with the team yesterday but it’s not likely he’ll be available because he doesn’t have much work under his belt. He’ll be available for Tuesday.

“[Paulo] Dybala is proceeding with is recovery, he’ll have an exam in the middle of next week to see if he’s healed.

“As for [Juan] Cuadrado, he’s going to see a specialist in Germany on Monday where he’ll be told whether he needs an operation, if not he’ll continue with his recovery. [Benedikt] Howedes is continuing with his recovery.

“[Blaise] Matuidi is ready, he’s been running and he’ll be with the team today. I’ll see if he’ll play tomorrow but it’s really nothing, he just took a knock.

“[Mattia] De Sciglio or [Stephan] Lichtsteiner will play tomorrow and we could give [Giorgio] Chellini a rest.

“If I decide to play with three in midfield then [Stefano] Sturaro could play, or maybe I’ll decide to throw in all four attackers we have available. So we could have two or three in central midfield.

“It could be that I’ll play all four, or [Federico] Bernardeschi could play instead of Douglas Costa tomorrow. He’s doing very well and I’m really happy with Federico.

“Could he play as a mezzala? He has the characteristics to do it, but he’s not ready to do it yet.

“I’ll say that when we play with two, with him in that position between the midfielders and the forwards, it’s a position that suits him very well.

“As for Alex Sandro I’ll see how he is today, he’s mostly shaken off his knock but not totally.

“If Alex Sandro doesn’t play though there’s [Kwadwo] Asamoah a very, very reliable player who is having a great season.”

Gonzalo Higuain hasn’t scored in Serie A since December 1, is that a concern?

“It doesn’t bother me whatsoever,” Allegri shrugged.

“Among other things he’s played good matches, especially when we play with a front-three it’s normal that he has to sacrifice a little more in the build-up play.

“Even against Genoa he played a good match, he could have had a couple of goals but he didn’t, these things happen.

“He absolutely doesn’t need to worry. I rang the alarm at the start of the season when he wasn’t good physically, he needed to get into condition and so then he needed a bit of an alarm.

“Now he’s sacrificing, working, playing for the team.

“He had chances in Cagliari, he had chances against Genoa, he had a sight of goal and then [Armando] Izzo took it off his toe.

“He’ll get back to scoring soon.”

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