Allegri: “Our season is on the line starting from Saturday”


Massimiliano Allegri previewed yesterday the Saturday night Coppa Italia fixture with Bologna: “It is easy to motivate the squad because this is a goal of ours like Champions League, Scudetto and Supercoppa. Bologna is a difficult pitch and they will look to accomplish the feat of eliminating Juventus. We will have to approach the game in a professional way, knowing that there will be no re-match. We also have to prepare for Wednesday too. We have brought home few good wins thus far, but we have not won anything yet. Our season is on the line starting from Saturday.”

On Paulo Dybala: “I expect him to keep playing at the same level he has done recently. He came close to scoring and he is important for us in the build-up, especially because Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic, due to their skillsets, focus more on attacking the offside trap and finishing.”

On Mario Mandzukic: “His conditions are not looking good. Moise Kean might start for him, other might play just a half. We will have to try to advance avoiding overtime.”

On the defense: “Leonardo Spinazzola is a candidate to start, while Joao Cancelo will return for the Supercoppa. Mattia De Sciglio will man the right flank, one between Spinazzola and Alex Sandro will be on the other.”

On stopping the games for racist chants: “These are not new things. They talked a lot, but it was just hot air. It is easy, there are already the instruments in place to catch who is behaving poorly in the stadia. The fan who threw a banana at Raheem Sterling in banned for life. The truth is that in Italy nobody has the courage to take important decisions, because they are unpopular.”

On the controversies related to playing in Jeddah: “I am not a politician and I do not want to become one. The League signed a contract and we are obligated to go there. There is a little step forward, since women are allowed to go the stadium. Let’s take the positive. I believe Italy still has economic and diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia. We were told to play there, so we comply.”

On the Mayorga case: “It is a private manner and I can only answer about how I saw the player after the news. He is serene, he is fine and refreshed after the vacation like the others. I can only judge what I see.”

On managing Cristiano Ronaldo: “Compared to last season, he did not play internationally, so he skipped six games. We will see moving forward. I have to handle the others too to go deep in all our seasonal objectives, otherwise I would field the same XI every time. He will feature tomorrow, we will see in what capacity. Leonardo Bonucci and Wojciech Szczesny will start, while I have yet to decide on Miralem Pjanic.”

On adding players in January: “I have five midfielders and they are so good that I do not need anybody else. I pay attention to every league, but what matters now is to focus on Saturday’s game, otherwise we risk missing out on one of our goals by midnight.”

Again on the game: “We have to be more focused than usual because of the nature of the clash, we need to tackle the various moments in an appropriate manner, because we took a little step backwards against Sampdoria. We performed well, but they scored on their only shot. This happens in football. If that wondergoal by Riccardo Saponara was not disallowed, we would have talked about a poor showing. Instead, it is the opposite. We played well, but we never fully took control of that match. You must avoid mistakes at any cost in the fixtures like the next one.”

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