Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said players directly affected by the Paris terror attacks are mentally fit and ready to help the Italian champions continue their climb back up the Serie A table. In what is a crucial week for the Bianconeri, Juventus host a resurgent AC Milan on Saturday before welcoming Manchester City to Turin looking for the win that will secure their place in the Champions League last 16.
Allegri said he had spoken to French internationals Paul Pogba and Patrice Evra, as well as Germany midfielder Sami Khedira, to make sure there is no emotional fall-out from last Friday’s terror attacks in the French capital. All three were involved in the France versus Germany friendly when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Stade de France.
On Thursday Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed he could rest center back Laurent Koscielny on Saturday because the terror attacks had “affected him deeply.” Allegri adopted the same approach with his players but the Italian, speaking in Turin on Friday, said: “I’ve spoken with (Paul) Pogba, (Patrice) Evra and (Sami) Khedira: it hasn’t been easy for them. They went through a difficult experience.
“But they seem to be quite calm. Returning to Turin has been good for them.”
Juventus welcome Milan looking to continue their fightback following a disastrous start to their title defense that has left them nine points adrift of leaders Fiorentina.
Allegri indicated goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon, who suffered an injury knock in midweek, should be fit, two days after the 37-year-old celebrated the 20th anniversary of his Serie A debut, with former club Parma.
“He doesn’t have anything serious but we’ll give him a fitness test tomorrow (Saturday) before confirming he will play,” he said.
Milan head to Turin looking to maintain a recent purple patch that has seen them claim 10 points from their past four league outings. That has coincided with coach Sinisa Mihajlovic’s decision to rest experienced Spanish goalkeeper Diego Lopez in place of 16-year-old Gianluigi Donnarumma, who has impressed to the extent he is already being tipped as Buffon’s eventual successor in the Italy team.
Juventus, however, will be favorites to claim a win that Allegri says would give them “momentum” ahead of their clash with City on Wednesday.
“Our objective tomorrow is to beat Milan. If we do that, it would give us momentum for our match against Manchester City,” he said.
“In the next four days we have the chance to overtake Milan in the league and reach the Champions League knockout stages.”