Saturday, January 21, 2017

Allegri warns Juventus to expect ´difficult´ four-team Scudetto race

SoccerNews in Serie A 19 Aug 2016

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Massimiliano Allegri urged Juventus not to believe they are in for an easy route to Serie A glory and thinks four teams will challenge for this season’s Scudetto.

Juve open their season at home to Fiorentina on Saturday as hot favourites to win the title for a sixth consecutive season.

Despite selling Paul Pogba in a world-record transfer to Manchester United, Allegri’s men have added five impressive names in Dani Alves, Mehdi Benatia, Gonzalo Higuain, Marko Pjaca and Miralem Pjanic.

But Allegri does not think that transfer business makes Juve overwhelming frontrunners and expects Napoli, Roma and Inter – although not his former club AC Milan – to contest the title.

He said: “We know that our big rivalries this season will be with Inter, Napoli and Roma. They will all be in the Scudetto fight.

“The first overall objective is to get to March and be fighting for three competitions, to be fighting in the league, the last 16 of the Champions League and the Coppa Italia. From then on we’ll play our season.

“It’s definitely not easy, because in every year that passes – Juventus have won the Scudetto for five in a row – the level of difficulty gets higher and higher. The other teams become more aggressive, and as we saw at the beginning of last year, subconsciously there’s a drop-off.

“Nothing is easy – especially in football. We know that winning the title is going to be very difficult.

“You can’t necessarily say that because Juventus have made some good signings – Higuain, Pjanic, Benatia, Pjaca, Dani Alves – that it’s a mathematical equation and we should win the Scudetto.

“To win the Scudetto you have to earn it on the pitch, like going forward in the Champions League. We’ll take it a step at a time, which is the way it should be.”

While not having the profile of Alves, Benatia, Higuain and Pjanic, Allegri tipped Pjaca – the 21-year-old winger brought in from Dinamo Zagreb – to be one of the stars of the Italian season.

He added: “Marko Pjaca is very good and interesting. He is talented – I think he could be the revelation of the season because he has physical and technical quality.

“At the moment, I think he is more suited to playing in a wider role but it depends on the system that we use as he is also effective as one of the two forwards.”

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