Udine (Italy, Jan 16 (IANS) Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri hopes the team kick-off “another half-season” in the right way with Sunday’s Serie A clash against Udinese, having lost the opener.
“Unfortunately I remember the first game we played this season and it was followed by other difficult moments,” Allegri, whose team is currently second in the bable, was quoted as saying by football-italia.net on Saturday.
The defending champions had one point after three rounds, having lost the opener 0-1 at home to Udinese.
“After Empoli the team started to put together a run of nine straight wins. We also improved physically and are now in good shape. We have another half-season to go. As I’ve already said this title race will be decided on the last day.
“Right now Napoli are the Scudetto favourites, but none of the top five can be ruled out. It’s part of the game, tipping the opposition to be favourites and Maurizio Sarri did it with us.
“I was never the only one who still believed in the Scudetto. In football as in life, there are difficult moments, but we got back on track thanks to the lads. That is not enough, there are many more games to go and I’ll field my best formation in every match.
“We have a difficult game tomorrow against an Udinese side in good form, while it will also be a special day for them inaugurating the new stadium.”
Striker Alvaro Morata’s confidence crisis drags on and Allegri confirmed he will be benched with the return of Mario Mandzukic.
“Morata will do well and get back to scoring, as he has proved many times he’s a great player. Mandzukic has recovered and will play. Simone Zaza has become an important player for this team.
“Either Daniele Rugani or Martin Caceres will start in defence. It’s likely they will alternate, so whoever doesn’t start tomorrow will play against Lazio.
“Juventus have improved a great deal in terms of attitude and our objective is to challenge the best in Europe.”