Maurizio Sarri trusts Gonzalo Higuain will be highly-motivated against Milan, has Cristiano Ronaldo concerns, but Juventus cannot do without Leonardo Bonucci right now.
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“Milan are a good team, they haven’t done their best yet this season, but anything can happen in a one-off match,” warned Sarri in his press conference.
“They are rebuilding and there are always going to be difficulties in that situation. They are laying the foundations. I don’t know how much it’ll help them get back to certain levels, but they do have good potential.
“We need more intensity, particularly when defending, compared to the game against Lokomotiv Moscow.”
Cristiano Ronaldo was substituted during that 2-1 Champions league win because of a recurring knee and muscular issue.
“I don’t know if he can play yet, we’ll see what he is able to do today and also tomorrow morning. It’s nothing serious, just a pain in his knee that then leads him to unbalance his posture during games. Matthijs de Ligt had a positive response to tests on his ankle and we’ll see today, as he’ll train with the squad.”
Although Sarri is rotating his squad regularly, Leonardo Bonucci never seems to get any rest.
“My choices say it all. If I thought we could do without him right now, I’d have let him rest. He is needed for his experience, character and defensive organisation, so we are asking him for an enormous sacrifice. I hope he can rest in future.”
Douglas Costa came off the bench in Moscow to score a spectacular winner and is expected to start tomorrow in his new trequartista role behind the strikers.
“He did well in Moscow and went a little wider because there was no space in the centre, but that too is the job of a trequartista, to find the space. I think Federico Bernardeschi’s performances in that role have been underestimated, as we need balance right now and cannot afford a purely attacking player there.”
It’s a very special game for Gonzalo Higuain, who had a disappointing six months on loan at Milan before rediscovering his form in Turin.
“Gonzalo’s history shows he needs strong motivation to give his best,” confirmed Sarri. “He is currently in good shape both physically and psychologically, so he can and is giving the team a great contribution. He’s really helping in the build-up, I feel he can do a tiny bit more in the finishing, so should go for goal himself more.”
Finally, former Napoli coach Sarri was asked about the chaos currently unfolding at the Stadio San Paolo, with players rebelling against a training retreat and Carlo Ancelotti under pressure.
“I am outside of the situation, so do not presume to know what’s happening. There are strong characters like Carlo Ancelotti and Cristiano Giuntoli there, so I’m sure they’ll be able to resolve it.”
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