Bianconeri boss Massimiliano Allegri emphasizes his focus on the threats posed by Monza rather than the chance to claim the top spot in Serie A.
A win against ninth-placed Monza on Friday could temporarily lift Juventus above Inter for 48 hours, as the league leaders face a challenging match against fourth-placed Napoli on Sunday evening. However, Monza had previously upset Juventus with a 1-0 win at home last season and a 2-0 victory at the Allianz Stadium in Turin.
“It won’t be easy in Monza and we’ve known this since last year,” Allegri said at his pre-match press conference.
“They are the only team that took six points off of us last season and we didn’t find a way to score against them.
“We face a team with good players who have put many teams in difficulty, the numbers say so.
“Monza, as often happens in football, demonstrates that the difference is mainly made by the defensive phase: in the last 10 games they have not conceded a goal three times and in the other seven they have only conceded one.
“They all defend together, united, so it will be a difficult match.”
Despite Monza experiencing only one loss in 10 games, a 1-0 defeat against Jose Mourinho’s Roma, Juventus remains unbeaten in eight matches, securing six wins during that period. However, Allegri, following a 1-1 draw against Inter at home last weekend, downplays Juventus’ noteworthy start to the season.
Allegri addresses Juve’s ‘limits’ ahead of Monza clash
He said: “We know what our limits are, the group is cohesive and we hold a good spot in the standings, but we haven’t achieved anything yet and we know that in football you can’t afford to give up.
“There are six games left until the end of the first round – four away games and two direct clashes at home – so we have to take one step at a time.
“We always have to look at fifth in the standings and have to watch our backs to maintain the gap from the teams behind us.
“However, this cannot be done with the result of a single match: the championship is a marathon, not a speed race.
“Being two points behind Inter is a source of pride, but again, we haven’t achieved anything yet.”
Juventus can count on the availability of Danilo and Alex Sandro, with the latter making a late appearance from the bench in the match against Inter, following their recovery from injuries.
The team will assess the condition of Manuel Locatelli, who played the final half-hour against Inter after overcoming a fractured rib that had previously kept him out of international duty in November.
Allegri said: “In his case it’s a problem of pain: against Inter he came on and managed to lend a hand to the team.
“We’ll see how he responds in training. If he is not available, I will make my assessments on Hans Nicolussi Caviglia, otherwise we will find another solution.”