Tuesday February 7 2017
Allegri: ‘Pjaca could start’

Marko Pjaca could be given his first Juventus start against Crotone, confirms Massimiliano Allegri.

The Croatian winger signed from Dinamo Zagreb in the summer, but a broken leg has limited his involvement and since returning the youngster has been limited to brief cameos.

“We have to start with Crotone,” Allegri said in his pre-match Press conference.

“Crotone are a team which has lost a lot of matches in the final stages of games.

They conceded the first goal against Inter in Milan in the 37th minute of the second half, they drew in Florence when they’d been winning until the last minute.

“So what does this mean? It means that this is a very well-organised, well-balanced team who are difficult to score goals against.

“They play a very linear 4-4-2, but it’s very difficult to break them down so we’ll need to play correctly tomorrow, with great patience because if we don’t unlock the game at the beginning there will be time to do it later.

“It won’t be an easy game, but we have to get a result because otherwise the three points we got against Inter will have been thrown into the sea.

“This team is very responsible, we trained well this morning. There will be some changes because [Giorgio] Chiellini will be left at home to rest.

“[Medhi] Benatia is back and [Andrea] Barzagli is in good condition after being down with the flu for three days. [Claudio] Marchisio won’t be called because he had a back problem after Sunday’s game and he hasn’t trained for two days.

“That’s part of a process which always occurs after an injury, nothing we haven’t seen before.

“[Mario] Lemina won’t be called, nor will [Rolando] Mandragora, but they’ve been training with the team and will be with us full-time from Thursday.

“There will be some changes, because I need fresh faces both physically and mentally, even if the team is fine physically.

“It could be that Pjaca plays from the start of the game.

“Benatia is fine after the Africa Cup of Nations, notwithstanding the two days of illness he had. Tomorrow he or [Daniele] Rugani will play, one of the two will take the field.

“I have five central defenders of the highest level, and rather than a hierarchy we have a lot of games.

“The important thing is that they all maintain the level they have now, because that means that whoever I choose will definitely be right and will always lead to a good performance.

“Will Juan Cuadrado be rested? [Paulo] Dybala can play on the right, he played there for a bit on Sunday, while Pjaca always plays there for the Croatian national team.

“Tomorrow Lichtsteiner should be rested and Dani Alves will come back in.

“Stefano Sturaro? We’re not going to overdo it. He could play, but it’s likely Mario Mandzukic will continue to play left-wing.”

Will it be difficult to face Crotone after such a huge game against Inter?

“The transition from Inter to Crotone is easy, because three points against Crotone are worth the same as three points against Inter.

“We’ve already slipped up in Genoa, Parma two years ago when we lost 1-0 and even though we’re fewer points clear now we’re in the same situation.

“We dropped points at home to Frosinone last season, we lost the penultimate game to Verona even though we were champions already but now we have a goal to achieve.

“So if we don't face tomorrow in the right way…

“I’m sure that tomorrow the lads will the match in a different way, especially at the start. So everything comes down to the approach, if the approach is right then the match will go accordingly.

“If it becomes a difficult game along the way, then we’ll need to put in three times the effort. We need to try and play a correct match and I’m sure the lads will do it.”

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