Tuesday January 29 2019
Allegri: Juve not CL favourites

Max Allegri insists Juventus are not Champions League favourites but assures Leonardo Bonucci’s injury is ‘less serious’ than they first feared.

Bonucci is facing a month out with an ankle injury, potentially ruling him out of Juve’s Champions League last-16 tie with Atletico Madrid.

“Pjanic and Khedira are available, maybe Mandzukic too,” Allegri said at a Press conference for Wednesday’s Coppa Italia quarter-final against Atalanta.

“Barzagli, Cuadrado and Bonucci won’t be there. For Bonucci, the injury is less serious than first thought. Caceres, if everything goes smoothly, will be available tomorrow.

“Chiellini, Rugani and Cancelo will play, but I still have to decide who plays on the left and assess the rest, given we play again on Saturday night.

“Matuidi could play. Regarding injuries, you can’t reason with fear: you can’t know what happens. You accept the unexpected and move on.

“Will Ronaldo play? I’ll talk to him today. He’s having an excellent year on a physical level, with so much intensity.

“We’ll then have a bit of a breather, even if this is our most important week so far, as the following two weeks give us more time to recover.

“Tomorrow Szczesny will play, Perin will on Saturday. Dybala? He had chances on Sunday night and gives us a big hand in terms of sacrifice and build-up play.

“Football is unpredictable, as was the case in Rome. We played badly at the start but scored when we were at our best.

“Away from home? We’ll play where we’re told to play. We’re playing lots of games and tomorrow we have another away game: it’s practice for the Champions League too.

“It’s not written anywhere that we’re super-favourites for the Champions League. That would be madness.

“By doing that, you don’t experience the competition as it should be experienced, that is as an objective to bring home, if we play well and are lucky.

“The League is played over 38 games and you can afford to drop off in one game, but tomorrow we can’t and the same goes for the Champions League.

“It won’t be easy tomorrow. Atalanta are in good shape and they came back against Roma, creating a lot.

“There will be pressure, so whoever make the least mistakes will win. You struggle against them because they’re a physical team with a propensity to attack, but it’s also true that they concede a lot.

“We’ll have to exploit their flaws, while remaining attentive to their strengths. For our opponents it’ll be an important evening, but we must look at ourselves, conquer the semi-finals and try to play in our fifth consecutive Final.” 

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