Tuesday February 27 2018
‘Marchisio yes, Higuain no’

Massimiliano Allegri confirms there’s “an excellent chance” Claudio Marchisio will face Atalanta, but Gonzalo Higuain will be on the Juventus bench “at most”.

The Bianconeri face Atalanta in the second leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final, after the league meeting on Sunday was called off.

Marchisio was due to play in that match before it was snowed off, amid rumours he could leave if he doesn’t play more.

“Tomorrow there’s an excellent chance Marchisio will play,” Allegri confirmed in his pre-match Press conference.

“In principle the starting XI could be Sunday’s, apart from one or two variations that I’ll have to see about today.

“As for the future, right now all of those who are part of the Juve world have to remain focused on our objectives.

“Then, in June, everyone will decide their own future. Right now we can’t be distracted by anything, it’s a very important season, as compared to last year we have a very strong opponent in Napoli who are putting up important numbers.

“That means in the League we have to do something extraordinary, after the lads have won six Scudetti in a row.

“We have the Coppa Italia and the Champions League, so we don’t even have time to think about the future, we have to live the present in the best possible way."

Paulo Dybala came off the bench against Torino, could he play tomorrow?

“He needs minutes, there’s no doubt about that, but I’ll evaluate tomorrow. Paulo will be involved in the game, either from the start or when the game is underway.

“Then there’s Saturday’s match [against Lazio] which will give him extra minutes. Above all we’re missing Sunday’s game and I always say that those count, they can weigh on you.

“I definitely have to give Paulo minutes. Among other things he’s much better, he’s done well in training and we need him from a technical point of view.

“Higuain? I’ve already said that at the maximum Higuain could be on the bench tomorrow. He hasn’t trained at all, he’s done two sessions on the bike which doesn’t use it [his ankle] much I don’t think.

“If he does a bit of training today, if he’s good and doesn’t have pain in his ankle he’ll be on the bench tomorrow. No more than the bench.

“The doubts I have are over a defender and a midfielder. These two.

“I have to look at today and Saturday, then we have next Wednesday [against Tottenham], we have three important games I have to manage.

“We’ll face the match tomorrow in the best condition, with the best team we can, knowing that in having [Sami] Khedira available tomorrow I’ll have one more alternative, then there’s also Saturday’s game.

“Tomorrow [Rodrigo] Bentancur is out through suspension so I have one midfielder less.

“That means I’ll have to get an idea of how many minutes one can play tomorrow, how many minutes one or two can play on Saturday.

“Then I’ll evaluate and decide on the starting XI. Buffon will play in goal tomorrow.”

Allegri was then asked if he believes Napoli can win all of their games between now and the end of the season.

“It would be nice if Napoli won them all and we won them all, but if they win all all of their and we win all of ours we can’t win…

“We have to take it one game at a time, because on Sunday I was planning to send a team out to give some players some minutes and then the snow came down and we couldn’t play.

“So let’s play one game at a time, face them calmly with great enthusiasm and above all great balance, knowing we have important commitments.

“I repeat, this year is different because we had much more of a points advantage last year.

“This year we have Napoli who are clinging to our coattails - indeed, we can say that we’re clinging to Napoli’s coattails.”

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