Max Allegri says “the strength of Juventus is that everyone has the objective to get to the end and win” but “we’ve still won nothing yet”.
The Bianconeri have taken the lead in Serie A for the first time since Week 3, and they can extend that to four points if they beat Atalanta in Turin tomorrow.
Today the Coach spoke in his pre-match Press conference, and he was asked how his team is different from last year.
“It's a bit different in the characteristics, even if compared to last year we are quite similar,” Allegri replied.
“Matuidi has arrived and he’s a player of temperament, who runs and allows the team to apply more pressure in the final third.
“At the start of the season we got some results with two midfielders - maybe some people forgot that - where we got six or seven wins, then we went to Bergamo and made a mistake on a penalty in the 95th minute with two midfielders.
“With Lazio we played three midfielders for the first time and we lost at home. There are moments which happen throughout the season.
“The strength of Juventus is that everyone has the objective to get to the end and win, which becomes a common goal.
“Above all there’s this desire to show again that they’re the strongest and reach these objectives that aren’t easy to achieve, because it’s not a normal thing, but something - as I always say - extraordinary.
“Right now Juventus have still won nothing yet, but we have a [Coppa Italia] final to play and right now we’re leading the League against a Napoli I have to compliment because they’re having a great season, if not the League would be over.
“They could say the same thing about us, so I can only compliment them and they’ll be there to fight to the end.
“It will be difficult for us because we have the Quarter-Finals of the Champions League - thankfully - and we hope to get to the Semi-Finals, so we have lots of games.
“That means all the squad has to be available, we can’t think of always playing the same system because not all the players are the same.
“[Stefano] Sturaro is similar to Matuidi, but he’s different from [Sami] Khedira. [Medhi] Benatia is different from [Daniele] Rugani and [Andrea] Barzagli.
“So depending on who goes on the pitch we can play in different ways, and my job is to try to exploit the characteristics of all the players.
“I can’t turn [Paulo] Dybala into a full-back or a box-to-box midfielder or they’d take my coaching licence away.”
Speaking of Dybala, is it more likely he or Mario Mandzukic will play on the left tomorrow?
“I need to evaluate, more than Dybala who needs to play I need to evaluate between Mandzukic and [Gonzalo] Higuain.
“One [Higuain] because he took a knock on the free-kick from which we scored and the other who has recovered.
“It’s a good situation to have, because we’re playing another game in two days.
“The only one who, momentarily, might have to do a bit of overtime is Douglas Costa but I’ll need to see today, it could be that in the morning I decide not to play him.
“Mandzukic is an extraordinary, important player for us because in terms of his aerial ability, his physicality, his technical level…
“The Croats have a spectacular thing, they have everything they need to do any sport.
“They’re physical and have technical skill, something you don’t find in other countries.
“Mario was important for us last year, it was important this year and it will be important for the season finale.
“I need everyone, so sometimes it’s important for someone to rest.
“The defence? I’ll decide today, Benatia is doing well, Barzagli is fine, [Daniele] Rugani is fine, [Benedikt] Howedes is doing well and [Mattia] De Sciglio and [Kwadwo] Asamoah are fine.
“The only one is Alex Sandro, who I’ll evaluate today. I’ll need to see about [Giorgio] Chiellini, if he has recovered then he’ll play, otherwise I’ll let him rest. If I’m not mistaken Chiellini didn’t play in Rome.”
Higuain missed a penalty against Udinese, and the Coach was clear who will be taking spot kicks from now on.
“After the game I put a sign in huge letters: Dybala is the penalty taker,” Allegri smiled.
“Then if during the game the penalty taker is to be changed, I’ll decide. Or if I get told someone else wants to take it then tell me and I’ll decide. The penalty taker is Dybala.
“Higuain is an extraordinary player, in terms of finishing but also in the build-up phase.
“He has technical quality and is truly among the best in the world, so the things he does are normal. You could even say he hasn’t done much, because he needs to do more.”
Allegri said that Napoli can reach 100 points, but Juventus could break their own 102 point record by reaching 104.
“No, no, absolutely. I don’t care about the 102 points record, if they tell me 81 points is enough to win the League I’m happy, as long as we get enough to win.”