Chiesa will not be there today at 6 pm, Di Maria will start from the bench, in front of Kean paired with Vlahovic, in defense Rugani: what the coach has in mind for the key Juventus week
Cup priority. Today is Spezia (6 pm), Thursday the “in or out” of the Europa League at Nantes. Juventus wants to continue the post-penalty recovery (-15), but cannot afford to say goodbye to this Europe well in advance after the early elimination from the top European competition. It’s not just a matter of image and money. The next Champions League is involved, the one that is so fundamental for the club’s coffers.
A virtue of necessity
Forced to live hand to mouth in Serie A, scoring points while awaiting positive or negative news from the various legal proceedings, the bianconeri do not want to waste the opportunity to gain access to the next Champions League by winning the Europa League on the field. Not to mention that an international trophy in the “house of Juve” is missing from the 1996 Champions Cup and the 1997 European Super Cup. For all these reasons Massimiliano Allegri, well aware that his future also clings to the Cups (the Europa League and the Italian Cup : the semi-finals against Inter in April), is preparing to experience the first crucial moment of 2023 with two Juventus. A jam-packed with alternatives (from Perin to Rugani, passing through Paredes and Kean) to snatch the three points in the Spezia home with tooth and nail. And another, that of the “star players”, largely kept at rest and polished in view of Thursday’s mission: to beat Nantes after the disappointing 1-1 draw at the Allianz Stadium to return to Turin with the ticket in hand for the round of 16 of the Europa League. “Chiesa, back from two games as starter in 4 days after ten months in the pits, is feeling a little tired and is staying at home”, announced Allegri. Precautionary choice, aimed at the return of Nantes. In France, the Lady will need both the tears of Faith and the genius of Angel Di Maria, who will start from the bench against Spezia this afternoon. Fideo, barring emergencies, could also live 90 minutes as a spectator. Only Dusan Vlahovic will start from the trident who, in addition to being the youngest of the three, needs minutes and goals more than anyone else to reach the top on a psychophysical level after groin problems.
Thus, alongside the Serbian striker (10 goals between the championship and the Cups), it will be the turn of Moise Kean (6 goals in 28 appearances, the last from the first minute on 29 January against Monza). But the rotations will be many more: Szczesny will leave the door to Perin and in place of the disqualified Bremer, here is Rugani. Allegri will ask his protégés Danilo and Rabiot for overtime, but will make De Sciglio catch his breath (in place of him Cuadrado) and the bruised Fagioli, replaced by Paredes. In fact half the team (at least 5 players) will be preserved for Nantes, where a Juventus with three forward stars will almost certainly be seen again.
“Grandpa, no 1-0”
The Europa League mission starts from the championship, from Spezia (“You will need technique and attention, at the Peak the games never end”, the coach warned) and from Allegri’s newfound smile, ironic reappearing and with a joke always ready after the turmoil and the close outbursts after Fiorentina (with some fans) and Nantes (on television): “I’m not nervous – underlined the coach – and the club’s voice is not lacking at the moment. The important results come thanks to the big clubs, such as “it’s Juve, and good interpreters. All the more reason now that we’re penalized by 15 points. Maybe I had the wrong reaction the other night (the reference is to the squabble with the Sky Sport lounge, ed), but my numbers are not debatable. I accept that people say that I’m poor and that my teams suck because it’s part of the criticism. But you can’t argue about the numbers, they are objective. And when I spoke about short faces in the past, I said that winning the fields honored by a thousand points or by one it was the same thing. Then the short muzzle was turned around and disguised in winning matches 1-0…”. The new-old Allegri, witty and not angular, is also thanks to Filippo, his grandson born on Friday: “It feels like being a grandfather. I went to visit my daughter Valentina and near the baby’s cradle I found a piece of paper with the words: grandfather, please ‘no 1-0’…” A joke to dismiss the post-Nantes controversy and approach the return with that optimism essential for experience the European nights. “No, we don’t have a Europe problem – concludes the “Count Max” – and qualification is not compromised. But we have to make more use of the chances and improve our performances when we are in charge of the games.”
February 19, 2023 (change February 19, 2023 | 08:46)
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