“Saturday’s encounter marks the beginning of a mini eight-match championship for us,” Massimiliano Allegri said. “We have an important but nonetheless slender lead over Napoli at the moment and we must ensure that it stays that way between now and May. Needless to say, it is a must-win game.
“We’re expecting a tough encounter against what is a very well-organised Empoli side that has nothing to lose. As has been the case for the majority of the campaign, we need to focus only on keeping our cool, finishing the year in style and most importantly ignoring what goes on around us. The hard work starts now. We’ve been excellent so far this term but with eight league games to go and a TIM Cup final after that, we still have so much to play for.”
“Rugani is in the frame to start in place of Bonucci who, despite picking up a minor knock for Italy, would not have played anyway due to suspension. Dybala on the other hand is very unlikely to feature tomorrow. Chiellini is back in training and has been working well with the rest of the group, as has Marchisio. As for Pereyra, staying here in Vinovo over the international break has done him a world of good and his job now is to make a telling difference for us between now and the end of the campaign.”