Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said Inter are ‘the favourites’ in Serie A but stressed the match on Sunday ‘is not decisive’ for the Scudetto battle. ‘They can’t kill us, the season is decided in the last three months’.
Juventus travel to San Siro for the Derby d’Italia on Sunday and Allegri expects a ‘beautiful evening’ in Milan.
The Bianconeri are recovering from a poor start to the campaign and could close the gap up to Inter at third with a win at the Giuseppe Meazza.
“We’ll see tomorrow night, everything depends on the game we play,” Allegri said at a press conference. “It will be a beautiful evening, especially because there will be around 60,000 spectators and so many expectations from everyone.
“It will be a good match between two great teams. Inter are still the favourite to win the Scudetto, in my opinion. It’s an important test against a strong team.”
But the coach doesn’t believe the match against the Nerazzurri will be decisive in the Scudetto battle this term.
“In my opinion, no,” he said. “It would allow us to extend the streak of results. In terms of the table, the one against Roma was much more decisive.
“We cannot think that we will win or lose the championship in one match.”
Paulo Dybala has recovered in time to be in the squad and Allegri confirmed he’s available against Inter on Sunday.
“He will be available, he’s fine and had two training sessions with the team,” he said. “We are almost complete in terms of availability.
“It’s important, because I need everyone, like in Russia, there those who entered were decisive.”
Allegri was asked about captain Giorgio Chiellini’s position ahead of the big game and if Federico Chiesa must rest.
“I have yet to decide the formation,” Allegri continued. “I might not even decide today, I will do it tomorrow morning.
“Chiesa played a good game the other day, Chiellini is ready to play, [Leo] Bonucci, [Matthijs] de Ligt and [Daniele] Rugani are doing well.
“When De Ligt is ready to play at the right in a back-three, we can play with three defenders too. For now, they play in two.”
Allegri was asked if he was close to joining Inter in recent years.
“In two years, a lot of water has passed under the bridges,” he continued. “They put me close to one and then another. I’m happy to be at Juve.”
Inter are pushing to defend the Scudetto won in 2020-21 but Allegri doesn’t believe they can kill Juventus’ title chase tomorrow.
“Given the table, they can’t kill us,” Allegri said. “It’s not a decisive game, it’s a nice evening to experience.
“Then we arrive at the break in November and see how much we have chewed, and we evaluate the next step. The seasons are decided in the last three months, but you have to be there.”
Leonardo Bonucci spoke about life after Cristiano Ronaldo and asked for a ‘pre-CR7 spirit’, as the team believed the Portuguese superstar would win them games on his own.
“When you have a player like Ronaldo, who scores 30 goals a season, it’s normal for the team to lean on him,” he said. “It’s normal that without Cristiano, everyone has more responsibility, and we have to find goals from the other players we have.”
Adrien Rabiot has recovered from coronavirus and will be available, but Allegri stressed he will assess the Frenchman’s conditions today.
“I see Rabiot today, you have to see how he came out of this situation,” he said. “Without training, it’s difficult.”
Arthur Melo has returned to action too but Allegri stressed he needs time to reclaim a place in the starting line-up.
“He has grown a lot,” Allegri added. “He raises the quality of the team and the passage. He hasn’t played a game for many months, slowly he has become one of the starters.”