Juventus Can’t switch off Against Valencia, Allegri Warns

Juventus’ Italian coach Massimiliano Allegri ponders during a press conference on the eve of the UEFA Champions League group H football match Juventus vs Valencia on November 26, 2018 in Turin. 

Juventus cannot afford to switch off against resurgent Spanish side Valencia in Tuesday’s Champions League game in Turin as they did against Manchester United, coach Massimiliano Allegri cautioned on Monday.

The Italian champions meet Valencia in a crunch Group H clash in Turin on Tuesday where a draw would be enough to seal the hosts’ passage to the last 16.

The Spaniards lost 2-0 in Valencia in their home leg despite Juventus being reduced to ten men after half an hour when Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off.

But Allegri insists Valencia are a different side now and represent a threat to his team’s ambitions of winning everything this season including a first Champions League title since 1995.

“In the Champions League you have to go step by step. We need to break through tomorrow and try to get the top place in the group,” said Allegri.

“We’re playing against a team that has lost just once in their last ten matches.

“We have to be very alert and not to fall asleep like happened in the last ten minutes against Manchester United,” he continued after two goals in the last five minutes gave United a 2-1 win in Turin.

“These things happen but we don’t want to repeat that mistake.

“I’m not worried but I want the team to have respect for Valencia, the only thing certain is that we have to win this game.”

Juventus are top of Group H with nine points after four games, with Manchester United two points behind and the Spaniards on five.

Swiss club Young Boys are already out of the running.

Valancia counterpart Marcelino García described the game as being “all or nothing” for his team against “a side that may even win the competition”.

“Our future in the Champions League depends on this win. It’s going to be a difficult, challenging and complicated game,” said the Spaniard.

Great ambition

Allegri dismissed talk of being favourites despite Juve’s strong domestic form.

“Last year I said Real Madrid were the favourites. This year Barcelona are, and then behind there are three teams including us.

“The general perception is different because Cristiano Ronaldo has arrived and he has won a lot.

“We hope to bring all the trophies home.”

Allegri confirmed that Federico Bernardeschi, Sami Khedira and Emre Can would all be missing.

Captain Giorgio Chiellini will partner Leonardo Bonucci in defence with Rodrigo Bentancur in midfield along Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi and Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic will be in attack.

“I’d like Ronaldo to keep playing as he has been, both as an assist man and goal scorer,” said Allegri.

“He has the qualities to allow us to exploit him in in any situation.”

Garcia, meanwhile, does not believe that Ronaldo’s red card will motivate the Portuguese star further.

“I don’t think what happened in Valencia really matters much,” he said.

“Cristiano is an extraordinary player. He has great ambition to be the best and to win all the time.

“I don’t think we’ll find a different Ronaldo than what we are used to in Spain where we know all his distinctive characteristics.”

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