Massimiliano Allegri is not expecting an easy ride when Juventus take on his former club AC Milan in the Coppa Italia final on Saturday.
Juve enjoyed another dominant Serie A campaign, recovering from a poor start and romping to their fifth successive Scudetto, finishing nine points clear of Napoli.
Milan, meanwhile, endured another inconsistent season, sacking Sinisa Mihajlovic in April before Cristian Brocchi guided them to seventh.
That league placing means Milan’s hopes of qualifying for the Europa League rest solely on defeating Juve, and Allegri is anticipating a well-contested encounter.
“Anything can happen in a one-off game. It’s Milan’s last chance to play in the Europa League next season,” Allegri said in Friday’s pre-match media conference.
“We’ll see a reaction from Milan tomorrow following their last Serie A game. It will be an evenly-matched affair.
“Our previous games with Milan have always been close. Finals are never easy matches either.”
Allegri confirmed that Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala are likely to continue their partnership up front, while Neto will start in goal, as he has done throughout this year’s competition.
“Tomorrow’s result won’t change anything as far as next season’s aims are concerned. We want to challenge on every front,” Allegri said.
“Tomorrow is our final game of the season. It’s our duty to try and win it. Winning would enable us to achieve an extraordinary feat, so that will provide us with added motivation.”
Juve won the double of league and cup under Allegri last season, and defender Giorgio Chiellini has his sights firmly set on repeating the feat at the Stadio Olimpico.
“Comparisons with the past? They don’t interest me. We’re writing history day after day,” he said.
“We’ve trained intensely over the past two weeks and now we need to show it on the pitch.
“This Coppa Italia is very important to us. Achieving a double domestic double would represent a historic achievement.”