Allegri and Pjanic preview Atletico vs Juventus

Juventus Live wire

Coach Massimiliano Allegri and Miralem Pjanic held late yesterday the usual pre-game presser. The coach begun by announcing that Sami Khedira has not been called up and later the club informed that the midfielder will undergo testing for a atrial arrhythmia that emerged yesterday: “We lose a world-class player and will remain with four available midfielders.”

Paulo Dybala will play tomorrow. It is a game unlucky any others this season, but it is similar to what we already faced in previous years. Champions League has always been a goal for us and whether from the outside they give us more or less chances to win does not concern us. We have played in two finals in four years, we had mammoth clashes with Bayern, Tottenham and Real Madrid. We will face a team that has featured in as many finals as we did and won Europa League. It will be a good game between very organized squad. Their defensive phase is their strength and I have to congratulate Diego Simeone for that. We have to lay the foundation to advance in the first match.”

“The squad is improving, we have had some difficulties, but now we are getting better on all aspects. We have played well in the last two games and now we have to stay the course. We will need to have the right kind of performance and be aware that we are dealing with a team that is rock-solid and very strong on set pieces.”

“The fact that we have Cristiano Ronaldo does not mean that we are obliged to win Champions League. It is simply a target. You need to put in the word and have some luck to prevail, this is the nature of the competition. Having him is certainly an advantage, since he has been the top scorer alongside Lionel Messi in the last ten years, but the whole team needs to have a good showing. However, it is not an automatic thing.”

On Simeone: “He has done an extraordinary job and he always manage to give his team the right mentality, they are consistent in both big matches and against the minnows. They have great humility and respect for the opponent and they know that is their way of getting results. Hats off to him.”

On Alvaro Morata: “I do not know his limitations from a character standpoint because he was still a kid when he joined us. He can do damage in this kind of fixture, so he is very dangerous, while consistency has been his weakness so far, but he is key element.”

On what result he would settle for: “It depends on how the game goes. We have to pull the strings and limit their counter-attacks, because they are lethal there. I asked the team to score because that is essential. Bagging two would be better. Atletico’s traits do not necessarily hinge on who is fielded and they also recovered most of their injured players. Their playing style is clear, maybe they improved a little up front, but they defend superbly. We will need to be patient.”

On Dybala: “His goal against Frosinone was great, but the performance was inferior compared to other matches. We have not created much there, despite the result. I think he will help us tomorrow, we will need some technique and some individual plays. He is fine form and it is only fair for him to start.”

On his contract: “It expires in 2020 and we are close to a fundamental match-up, so that is certainly not an issue right now. I am great at Juventus, we have to finish well the season, trying to go deep in Champions League and seal the deal in Serie A. Today we start an important stretch that will end with the Napoli clash.”

Here are Pjanic’s words: “They have big players, but they also proved that their strength lies in the whole squad. It is tough to play against them, the two games will be complicated. Antoine Griezmann and Jan Oblak are at a very high level, but they have few other dangerous players we need to pay attention to. We will try to have a positive result in the first leg and put ourselves in an advantageous position.”

“The final will take place here, but we will have to go through so many hoops to reach it, starting from this game. We will have to best everybody and so a key cycle commences right now. We want to return for the final, it is our objective and our dream.”

On free kicks: “Cristiano is very motivated and he can be deciding in this competition. We just hope to have some chances and score one. Maybe I will take it if it is close.”

“We do not feel like we are the frontrunners, but we are aware of our strength. There are many teams that can win the Champions League and several high-caliber players. We arrived here in good shape and there is no reason to botch this game. We face a great foe, we respect them, but we want to advance.”

On Rodrigo: “He is good, I like that kind of players. I saw him a couple of times and he resembles Sergio Busquets. He is having excellent season, like few others. The main thing for us will be to play to the best of our capabilities and be patient.”

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