'Now is the time to win' - Max Allegri expects Juve response in Coppa Italia
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri expects his team to show their true colours on Wednesday night when they attempt to complete the first part of what could be a Serie A-Coppa Italia-Champions League treble this season.
The Bianconeri face Lazio in the Coppa Italia final having missed their first opportunity to wrap up the Serie A title on Sunday night, losing 3-1 at Roma. They can still clinch their sixth straight Scudetto by beating Crotone at the Juventus Stadium on Sunday but Allegri is first focused on clinching the first title at the Stadio Olimpico, saying he does not expect to see a repeat performance of their last visit at the weekend.
"Against Roma, it was just a matter of minor details and when you are not fully focused, anything can happen," Allegri said at a news conference on Tuesday. "That is why we lost, not because I rotated the team."
Further rotation can be expected on Wednesday but not because Allegri is already thinking ahead to Sunday or even the Champions League final against Real Madrid. Instead, there are doubts over the fitness of forwards Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala.
"I can assure you that whoever plays, they will be alert tomorrow," Allegri said. "I would repeat every decision I have made, also because my choices have been rewarded up to now.
"We will think about Cardiff after Lazio and after Crotone. Now is not the time to make any calculations: now is the time to win."
Defender Giorgio Chiellini also said that now is the time to deliver the winning results, suggesting that the weekend's defeat came at just the right time for them.
"We've done well this year to use every slip-up we have had to motivate us to bounce back positively," he said. "We had just lost a bit of physical and mental energy from four rather demanding fixtures, but we've always been able to manage our advantage this season, accelerating when we saw our rivals in the rear-view mirrors and slowing down when we had a comfortable lead.
"That's not how it should be, but it's not surprising. But now we're very proud and determined. From tomorrow night, we will start winning."
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.