Massimiliano Allegri has underlined his hunger to keep making further history with the Bianconeri by steering the team to what would be their first back-to-back TIM Cup triumphs in over 50 years. Standing in the way of a place in the quarter-final stages, however, is the small matter of a local derby with inter-city rivals Torino, who tomorrow night will be out for revenge after Juan Cuadrado’s last-gasp winner saw them leave Juventus Stadium empty handed at the end of October. Here is a selection of the best quotes from Allegri’s pre-match press conference:
TIM Cup aspirations: "Winning back-to-back TIM Cup titles would represent an important feat. It hasn’t happened here since the late 1950s. In addition, derby day matters a great deal to both sides and we’ll need to be at the races. Torino are a team that prevent you from expressing yourself and don’t give you space in which to work, meaning we’ll have to be on our game.”
Team news: “Hernanes conducted almost all of yesterday’s training session with the squad. We’ll see if he’ll be fit to play tomorrow, otherwise we’ll look to tailor his workload for Carpi. Lemina went to Barcelona yesterday to see a specialist about his tendon difficulties. Pereyra is on the road to recovery and will be back in the New Year. Asamoah feels a twinge in his knee after playing, so we’ll look to ease him back gradually".
“Neto and Rugani will definitely start tomorrow. I’ll then have a look at the respective conditions of my back three and decide whether I’m going to use one or two of them. Regardless, Rugani can play either as a left-sided or right-sided central defender and will be ready tomorrow. I could rest Dybala, seeing as he’s played many games, although he will still be in the squad. I’ll play two from Mandzukic, Zaza and Morata. Everyone’s in good shape, so I’m confident that whoever gets the nod will turn in a strong performance. Cuadrado did well against Fiorentina, as did the rest of the team. If he’s not in my starting line-up tomorrow, he’ll be an important option from the bench for us, especially seeing as the game could go to extra-time.”
Giampiero Ventura: “Ventura’s enjoyed a fine career. Five years as Torino manager is no mean feat. His teams always play very good football and the players he’s had have been lucky to work under him.”
Serie A TIM: “It’s a good moment for the entire team and I’m very happy about it. From January onwards we need to be on our toes and in the best possible physical condition. The title race is still open for those chasing Inter, even though you’d say they’re favourites as it stands. The game against Carpi will be very important because we’re duty bound to win.”
Champions League: “If we beat Bayern, we’ll be considered as one of the favourites for the trophy. Playing a big team when you reach the competition’s last 16 is perfectly normal. We’ll need to be ready, but the tie is still a long way off. For now we must focus our attentions on Serie A TIM.”