Thursday, June 30, 2022

Atalanta game ´important but not decisive´ for Juventus – Allegri

SoccerNews in Serie A 12 Feb 2022

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Massimiliano Allegri insists there will be more important games to come for Juventus despite the apparent stakes when they visit Atalanta on Sunday.

Juve are unbeaten in Serie A since their previous meeting with Atalanta at the end of November and head to Bergamo in fourth, two points and one place ahead of their opponents.

After a difficult start to the season, the Bianconeri’s Champions League qualification hopes are in their hands – although that may well depend on securing a positive result this weekend.

Even after playing Atalanta, however, Juve have 13 games remaining, meaning Allegri is keen to talk down the magnitude of the fixture.

“It’s a direct clash for fourth place, it’s important but not decisive,” he told a news conference. “It’s a good test, it will be difficult because Atalanta have shown in recent years that they have won a place to fight for the top four positions.

“They are a physical team, who will be very angry about their elimination in the Coppa Italia, and so the game requires great focus, physicality and technique to bring a good result home.”

Pushed again on the significance of this result, Allegri replied: “No, because Atalanta have [played] one less game. Now we are close, it is not decisive for anyone tomorrow. It’s important, beautiful to play, but not decisive.”

Juve’s 10-match unbeaten run in the top flight is their longest since 2020, while a sequence of three consecutive clean sheets is their best since 2018.

But Atalanta have previously proven themselves capable of checking Juve’s momentum.

Gian Piero Gasperini has overseen back-to-back Serie A wins over Juve – already Atalanta’s best run in the fixture – with Parma (between 2010 and 2011) the last team to beat the perennial champions in three straight.

And Allegri is not getting carried away heading into this match, saying: “In football you always need balance. We come from a good period of 12, 13 games. Now, we must not think, because we lose focus on what we need to do.

“We have reached a semi-final of the Coppa Italia, we have to fix the league season game by game, and the more we go on the more difficult it will be to win, because the points matter more for everyone.

“We have done nothing; it is normal for Juventus to win games. Tomorrow there is Atalanta and we have to try to take three points, and then Torino, then the Champions League and so on.

“So far we have not conquered anything, there is only to do right now, there is no chatting.”

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