Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Massimiliano Allegri taking nothing for granted at resurgent strugglers Cagliari

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 18 Apr 2024

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Cagliari’s record at home means Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri is not taking the trip to the Sardinian capital lightly.

Juventus are well positioned to secure Champions League qualification for next season, while Cagliari are just four points above the drop zone ahead of Thursday’s contest at the Unipol Domus.

The Bianconeri next take on Lazio in the Coppa Italia semi-final on Tuesday, holding a 2-0 lead from the first leg.

But Allegri is wary of Claudio Ranieri’s Cagliari, who scored twice in the last quarter of an hour to secure a 2-2 draw at runaway league leaders Inter Milan last time out.

“Of their eight wins this season, six have come at home and 23 of the 31 points they’ve got have been picked up at home,” Allegri told a press conference.

“They’re a team who score a lot of goals in the last 15 minutes of games and particularly with players who come off the bench, they have scored more goals with substitutes than anybody else.

“We know it will be a tough game, so our very best version will have to show up. We won’t be rotating ahead of the Italian Cup, the most important game is Cagliari, then we’ll focus on the cup.

“It would be a mistake to not focus on Cagliari, and a win in Sardinia would allow us to take a big step towards our goals.”

Juventus still have clashes against top-four rivals AC Milan, Roma and Bologna ahead of them in the next few weeks.

“It’s important to stay focused on the next month or so,” Allegri added. “We have a lot of difficult games to come. A win at this stage is almost worth double.”

Cagliari have lost just once in their last eight matches to ease relegation fears and twice hit back from a goal down to claim a surprise point at Inter Milan on Sunday.

“I told the guys that they are doing well, but we have new pitfalls ahead of us,” Ranieri told a press conference.

“The team is focused, we have to keep the right balance. We have to keep pushing without fear, the salvation fight is very tight. There are no foregone conclusions, you go out there and fight.”

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