Allegri talks before Juventus vs Cagliari


Massimiliano Allegri talked to the journos today for the usual pre-game presser: “I demand to win the game. We had the proof of it in Empoli: winning is never easy. Playing against us is always an important objective for the opponents. Games get won on the pitch, we can not afford to drop points because Inter and Napoli are right behind us. In Serie A, you need a lot more attention and focus compared to the Champions League. We have some dangerous lapses that could cost us the title. It will be an important week with three games on deck, versus Cagliari, Manchester United and Milan.” 

On Cristiano Ronaldo: “He is essential, like Lionel Messi for Barcelona or Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Milan. They are the main goal scorers. We also have Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic that chip in and we hope to get some goals from the midfielders and the defenders, especially on set pieces.”

On Cagliari: “They will be a difficult opponent. They are the team that runs the most in Serie A and they are very menacing in the box. We have to win and prepare for Wednesday’s game. We are coming off a good week. Nicolò Barella, like Federico Bernardeschi, Alessio Romagnoli and Daniele Rugani and other youngsters, represents the future of our National team. I like him a lot.”

On the injured players: “Giorgio Chiellini and Federico Bernardeschi will be out tomorrow, while Sami Khedira and Mario Mandzukic will be back. Leonardo Spinazzola should have played with the youth team on Monday, he will go down there for a couple of matches.”

On the Champions League: “We have reached two finals in four years, without forgetting what happened in Munich and at Madrid. You need some luck. I do not feel as I am privileged coach, but like the manager of a team that could win the Champions League, but it is not a sure thing. The main candidate this year is Barcelona.”

On Federico Bernardeschi: “We need balance when judging. It looked like he had made the leap, also mentally, and he was painted as a great player after the first few games. Then he returned from the national team with a leg problem and dragged it. Now I decided to rest him to let him heal. The recent subpar performances were caused by this problem. We need to be calm and not be carried away. He is 24, he is young and he already improved a lot in his time with Juventus.”

On the free kicks: “Cristiano Ronaldo has a better chance to score from distance, while in the closer ones Miralem Pjanic and Paulo Dybala are more dangerous. We have to exploit them.”

On the lineup: “Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi will start, while I will pick one between Rodrigo Bentancur and Juan Cuadrado for the final spot in the midfield. I have to evaluate the conditions of Khedira. Mattia De Sciglio could relieve Alex Sandro at left back, the Brazilian played a lot and the Champions League is coming up. Douglas Costa went away for a couple of months and he is just now starting to recover a good condition. Wojciech Szczesny and Cristiano Ronaldo will start tomorrow, we will see who will partner up with him.”

On Paul Pogba: “I can not and I do not want to talk about players from other teams. He still has some upside. Unfortunately, he is a Manchester United player and we will have to face him this week. It would be better if he was out. Honestly, I prefer the standings ovations to be towards our players.”

On the defense: “You can not win the title if you concede more than 30 goals. So we have to start trying to keep clean sheets right from tomorrow.”

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