Massimiliano Allegri urges Juventus to get through tough period

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Juve are battling on two fronts as the season approaches its conclusion.

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri is backing his players as they attempt to bring a difficult season to a satisfactory conclusion.

Saturday’s 1-0 Serie A defeat at Lazio left Juve 17 points behind runaway leaders Inter Milan, who entertain lowly Empoli on Monday evening, and knowing they now have only Champions League qualification and the prospect of Coppa Italia glory for which to play.

They will attempt to take a step towards the latter on Tuesday evening when they face the Rome club for the second time in four days, this time on home turf at the Allianz Stadium in the first leg of the domestic cup semi-final, with either Fiorentina or Atalanta awaiting the winners.

Allegri told a press conference: “The guys must have confidence in themselves. They’re a great group who always give their all on the pitch.

“We have to keep working because we still have two important objectives to aim for in securing Champions League qualification and the Coppa Italia.

“I have nothing to criticise the boys for, we just have to get through this period.”

The 14-times winners head into the game in indifferent form, with Adam Marusic’s stoppage-time strike at the Stadio Olimpico at the weekend extending their league run to just one win in nine games.

With second-placed AC Milan six points ahead of Allegri’s men in third and just two separating them from Bologna in fourth, the pressure is on in the race for Champions League qualification.

In the circumstances, the prospect of reaching a domestic cup final may provide a welcome distraction.

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny said: “It’s a bad period in which you realise that everybody needs to give more for Juventus.

“We really have a lot of desire to do well, but the results aren’t coming at the moment. We know that we haven’t done well enough in the last two months and what is needed to achieve our goals.

“The Coppa Italia is a trophy that we can still win and Champions League qualification is very important for us and it’s up to us to seal it.”

Lazio’s win at the weekend, which kept them in touch with the top six, was their second in succession after a run of four successive defeats in all competitions, including a Champions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich, and they will be keen to keep the momentum going under new boss Igor Tudor.

They have lifted the trophy on seven occasions, most recently in 2019, but will be without goalkeeper Ivan Provedel under concussion protocols.

Allegri has Filip Kostic available after illness, while Alex Sandro and Carlos Alcaraz have returned to training following injury lay-offs, but Arkadiusz Milik is still out.

Massimiliano Allegri urges Juventus to get through tough period

Juve are battling on two fronts as the season approaches its conclusion.

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri is backing his players as they attempt to bring a difficult season to a satisfactory conclusion.

Saturday’s 1-0 Serie A defeat at Lazio left Juve 17 points behind runaway leaders Inter Milan, who entertain lowly Empoli on Monday evening, and knowing they now have only Champions League qualification and the prospect of Coppa Italia glory for which to play.

They will attempt to take a step towards the latter on Tuesday evening when they face the Rome club for the second time in four days, this time on home turf at the Allianz Stadium in the first leg of the domestic cup semi-final, with either Fiorentina or Atalanta awaiting the winners.

Allegri told a press conference: “The guys must have confidence in themselves. They’re a great group who always give their all on the pitch.

“We have to keep working because we still have two important objectives to aim for in securing Champions League qualification and the Coppa Italia.

“I have nothing to criticise the boys for, we just have to get through this period.”

The 14-times winners head into the game in indifferent form, with Adam Marusic’s stoppage-time strike at the Stadio Olimpico at the weekend extending their league run to just one win in nine games.

With second-placed AC Milan six points ahead of Allegri’s men in third and just two separating them from Bologna in fourth, the pressure is on in the race for Champions League qualification.

In the circumstances, the prospect of reaching a domestic cup final may provide a welcome distraction.

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny said: “It’s a bad period in which you realise that everybody needs to give more for Juventus.

“We really have a lot of desire to do well, but the results aren’t coming at the moment. We know that we haven’t done well enough in the last two months and what is needed to achieve our goals.

“The Coppa Italia is a trophy that we can still win and Champions League qualification is very important for us and it’s up to us to seal it.”

Lazio’s win at the weekend, which kept them in touch with the top six, was their second in succession after a run of four successive defeats in all competitions, including a Champions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich, and they will be keen to keep the momentum going under new boss Igor Tudor.

They have lifted the trophy on seven occasions, most recently in 2019, but will be without goalkeeper Ivan Provedel under concussion protocols.

Allegri has Filip Kostic available after illness, while Alex Sandro and Carlos Alcaraz have returned to training following injury lay-offs, but Arkadiusz Milik is still out.

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