All eyes on Milan clash for Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri
Juve host Serie A rivals on Saturday before attention turns to the Champions League
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri insists his side will start Saturday’s Serie A clash against AC Milan “a goal down” if they are already thinking about facing Real Madrid.
The Old Lady will come up against holders Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday night as Zinedine Zidane returns to Turin.
But first they welcome a rejuvenated Milan side to the Juventus Stadium looking to maintain their lead over Napoli at the top of Serie A.
Allegri wants focus to be solely on the league encounter despite the obvious excitement of a repeat of last year’s Champions League final, which Real Madrid won 4-1 in Cardiff.
“We can only think about (Saturday) night for now, otherwise we risk going onto the pitch already a goal down,” Allegri said, quoted on his club’s website.
“We will think about Real Madrid from Monday. Napoli only have one possible objective left and that’s winning the title and they are having a great season.
“There are nine games left and we play five of them at home. We want to reach the final on May 26 but our main objective is the league.”
Milan may have been turned over 5-1 by Arsenal in their Europa League last-16 tie but Gennaro Gattuso’s side are unbeaten in the league in 2018.
Allegri therefore expects a challenge as former defender Leonardo Bonucci prepares for an emotional return after departing for Milan in the summer.
“Gattuso deserves the compliments for the work that he’s done, he’s won over the initial sceptics,” he added.
“He has used his experience well from his playing days and only deserves compliments for what he is doing.
“It will be a special evening for Bonucci, who gave a lot to Juve and vice-versa. He chose to take a different path, it was his choice but he remains in the heart of the fans.”
Gattuso acknowledged that Juventus are a better outfit than his AC Milan side at present but does not want to travel to Turin to park the bus.
“If we manage to do well both in the offensive and the defensive phase we can do well against Juve. If we try to defend only, then it’s going to be tough,” he said at his pre-match press conference.
“We have to be humble and respect our opponents who are stronger than us. We must play as a team. There’s a lot at stake and we are not allowed any false-step. We need the perfect game.
“We have prepared two or three different tactical solutions based on how Juve will play.
“They have a winning mentality, fear nothing and are used to playing these games. They won’t be thinking about the match against Real Madrid.”