Saturday April 13 2019
Allegri: 'Evaluating strikers for Ajax'

Max Allegri is not concerned by the 2-1 Juventus defeat to SPAL, but hints Moise Kean and Paulo Dybala are in contention to start against Ajax.

The Bianconeri needed only a point today in order to mathematically secure their eighth consecutive Scudetto, but after Kean had opened the scoring, Kevin Bonifazi and Sergio Floccari turned it around.

“We had a lot of young players and they did well, but above all the second goal showed a lack of experience,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“We reacted well in the second half, but couldn’t get the game back on track. Paolo Gozzi had a good game, including after Andrea Barzagli went off. Grigoris Kastanos was struggling a little in the role of mezz’ala, while Hans Nicolussi and Stephy Mavididi did well.

“I needed to see the conditions of Juan Cuadrado, who is unfortunately off the Champions League squad list, and also Dybala, whose fitness levels weren’t at their best. The more he plays, the better shape he gets into. He rediscovered some enthusiasm today and it wasn’t easy for him psychologically of late to have only 20 minutes or so and then get hurt again.

“At a big club, you must fight every day to earn your space in the team and I am very happy with what he did today. It’s a good sign for Tuesday, as we must be ready and prepare for the potential of extra time too.”

It was the sixth consecutive game for club and country on target for 19-year-old Kean, so was the fact he was substituted early be considered a clue ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final with Ajax.

“Kean was feeling a little tired, so I preferred to take him off. When he starts moving wide and doesn’t attack the goal as much, it means it’s time to get him off the field.

“He has different characteristics to Mario Mandzukic, but obviously having him in this shape is important and I’ll evaluate what to do on Tuesday.

“Dybala moved well and had a good game, so there are certainly positive responses going towards Tuesday. Blaise Matuidi is certainly available, as he just had cramp. Douglas Costa we’ll see, they tell me Emre Can is doing far better, while we’ll test Giorgio Chiellini in training tomorrow morning.

“Chiellini was fine after Cagliari, despite getting a knock, but his calf muscles do cause problems every now and then, so we have to be careful.”

Juventus could still win the Scudetto this weekend, if Napoli fail to beat bottom of the table Chievo at the Bentegodi tomorrow.

“It would’ve been easy to field the first choice XI today and get the Scudetto, but we’ve had such a remarkable run of results this season that it was more important to focus on the Champions League game coming up.

“The key to Juventus winning the Scudetto is that we do well in the head-to-head clashes, but above all bring home the points everywhere else.

“You usually win the Scudetto with 84-86 points, but last term Napoli had 91 – a club record – and still finished second, so our performance that season was extraordinary.”

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