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Five Aside

Allegri: Juve are favourites

AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri has described Juventus as favourites to win the Serie A title.

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Juve were unbeaten in the league last season and have inevitably been tipped to retain their crown but, while Allegri acknowledges their strength, he hopes his side can thrive as underdogs.

"Juventus have made some good signings and they are the favourites to win the title," he said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport. "However, you never know how things will pan out in football.

"Last year, everybody thought that we would dominate the league and that it would be a duel with Inter, but in the end Juventus went on to win the title without losing, so who knows?"

Milan will be much-changed and go into the season as something of an unknown quantity after the high-profile sales of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva as well as the departures of veterans Gennaro Gattuso, Alessandro Nesta, Clarence Seedorf, Gianluca Zambrotta and Gennaro Gattuso.

"It is a special year, different from my first two," Allegri said. "In a way it's more exciting, as this is a team we want to see grow before our eyes. I can promise we will be appreciated and we will improve. It'll be the start of a fascinating challenge."

Many fans have reacted angrily to the decision to sell the club's star assets to Paris Saint-Germain, but Allegri believes his side will get stronger.

"It's pointless looking back now," he said. "We will change our way of playing and look ahead. We all have more responsibility on our shoulders now and I do think the team will be reinforced, as a couple of players will arrive this summer.

"It will be a crucial year for guys like [Alexandre] Pato and [Kevin-Prince] Boateng. They will have to make the final step up. I think that it will be good for them to have more responsibilities, though."


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