Ending their recent woes and practicing for Europe are Juventus’ aims against AC Milan
Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri believes their Supercoppa Italiana clash with AC Milan will serve as practice for the knockout rounds of the Champions League as they bid to avoid a repeat of recent disappointment in the annual showpiece.
The Bianconeri, again runaway leaders in the Scudetto race, take on the team they beat 4-0 in last season’s Coppa Italia final in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
Despite having won both Serie A and the Coppa Italia in each of the previous three seasons, Juve have failed to triumph in the Supercoppa in three of the last four years and lost to Milan on penalties in 2016.
“It’s difficult to figure out why, as we lost both on penalties to Napoli and Milan. I hope tomorrow will be different and that we can be more concentrated,” Allegri said on Tuesday.
“There are 22 points separating the teams in Serie A, but those don’t matter here and it’ll be an important test for us. We must learn that playing a one-off match is different to a league situation.
“The main hope is that we don’t go to extra time, as we want to get it done within 90 minutes. This is good practice to prepare for elimination rounds.”
Juve will face Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League as they bid to win the competition for the first time since 1996.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined from Real Madrid in a €112million move in July, has lifted that trophy five times in his glittering career.
Asked if Ronaldo has brought a winning mentality to Juve, Allegri replied: “He’d have to win something first to prove that. Cristiano is accustomed to winning, he has won four of the last five Champions Leagues and many more trophies.
“Ronaldo is the best player in the world and an added bonus for us. The situation has certainly improved with his presence, although Juve already had great strikers.
“However, let’s not forget that Juve have played two Champions League finals in the last four years and they were against what at the time were the best teams in the world. When it comes to that tournament, you need good luck too.
“The Scudetto is one of our objectives, as are the Coppa Italia, the Supercoppa and the Champions League. We want to reach the end of the season with as many trophies as possible.”
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey is reportedly poised to agree a deal to join Juve at the end of the season. However, Allegri refused to talk about the Wales international.
“I won’t talk about the transfer market, because Ramsey is an Arsenal player and I cannot discuss him at all,” he said. “The Juventus squad is fine as it is.”