Saturday May 5 2012
Allegri: 'It's now or never'

Massimiliano Allegri expects a very attacking Inter in the Milan derby, but warns “whoever is on top tomorrow evening is 99 per cent sure of winning the Scudetto.”

The Rossoneri sliced the gap at the top of the table from four to just one point thanks to the midweek round, but the Coach warns this title is still very much in the hands of Juventus.

“I believe whoever is on top tomorrow evening is 99 per cent sure of winning the Scudetto, although anything can happen,” said Allegri.

“If I had to play one of our games again, it may well be the head-to-head with Juve. However, I’d also like to point out we picked up five points in the first five rounds. Not everything can be decided by a single match. Milan have had an important campaign and it could get even more important tomorrow evening.

“We do hope that we don’t end up on level points with Juventus, as that would be pretty irritating.”

If the two teams do finish joint top, then Juve will win the title thanks to their superior record in head-to-head meetings this season.

While the Bianconeri visit Cagliari on neutral turf in Trieste, Milan take on rivals Inter in the Derby della Madonnina.

“I expect a very attacking Inter side, as they have done well recently and are still in the race for third. The derby is always a special game and we must put in a great performance, as we really can afford only one result.

“Inter will also be highly motivated because they have two objectives – staying in the Champions League hunt and winning the derby. We’ve just got to make sure we’re even more motivated.”

Thiago Silva has not recovered in time for Sunday’s match and there are reports he won’t be ready next week either.

“To be a point behind Juventus with all the injuries we’ve had means a lot,” insisted Allegri. “There are so many qualities within this squad. We must face the derby with courage and the awareness we can win and only then see what’s happening elsewhere.

“I have complimented Antonio Conte throughout the campaign, because Juventus have had a great season. Regardless of how it ends, it has been a wonderful season and a great challenge for the title.

“Antonio Cassano or Robinho? I will evaluate their form today, including Stephan El Shaarawy and Maxi Lopez. I rested Ignazio Abate midweek, but he is certainly ready.”

Allegri was asked whether he would ever accept the Inter job in future and had a cryptic reply.

“I have two years left on my contract, so I’ll tell you in two years.”

Naturally, the Coach was also asked about Delio Rossi’s dismissal from Fiorentina for attacking player Adem Ljajic.

“It was a great shame, as a fraction of a second later Rossi immediately regretted his actions. I think at times there needs to be more respect for players towards their Coach. There is so much stress and mistakes can happen, for these are professionals, but also men. Respect and politeness for people are fundamental concepts and many say modern society has changed them, but I’d prefer to go back.”