Young Boys game more important than Derby d'Italia, says Allegri

By Sports Desk December 06, 2018

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri acknowledges Inter are title rivals in Serie A but believes next week's Champions League showdown with Young Boys is more important than the Derby d'Italia.

Reigning champions Juve head into Friday's match already boasting an 11-point advantage over third-placed Inter after 14 games of the season.

Allegri still feels Inter are part of a three-horse title race alongside his own side and Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli, but understandably believes Juve getting the win they need over the Swiss champions next Wednesday to ensure top spot over Manchester United in Group H will have a greater bearing on their season.

"Tomorrow is the Derby d'Italia. Regardless of where we are in the table it will be a fascinating evening," he said at a Thursday news conference.

"It will be a technical and mental test against a team that has grown a lot and that, together with Napoli, are our rivals for the Scudetto.

"Together with Napoli, they are the anti-Juve at the moment. I do not think the others play for second place. Ancelotti says it all the time, we still have three head-to-head matches, the rankings could change.

"For us next Wednesday's game is more important because we're playing for first place in the Champions League [group]. Tomorrow against Inter is just one game."

Emre Can could come into contention after two months on the sidelines with a thyroid issue but fellow midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur will be assessed due to a back complaint.

Related items

  • Barcelona boss Valverde admits to Lyon uncertainty Barcelona boss Valverde admits to Lyon uncertainty

    Ernesto Valverde cautioned Barcelona against complacency after confessing to knowing little about Champions League last-16 opponents Lyon.

    The LaLiga leaders avoided an undesirable date with Liverpool in Monday's draw but were set the awkward challenge of a developing team that went unbeaten in Group F.

    Lyon memorably toppled Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in September and twice led the Premier League champions during an entertaining 2-2 draw in the reverse encounter.

    Valverde, who guided Barca comfortably through a group containing Tottenham and Inter, conceded his knowledge of the Ligue 1 outfit is limited, but the Spaniard knows enough to be wary.

    "The truth is that I have seen little. I have a general idea, there are some players that we know, but we have to prepare well," Valverde told his club's media channel.

    "It's a team that was challenging City for leadership of the group until the last game and won at their ground.

    "That shows the difficulty to win any game. Not only for us, but for any team.

    "I have the sense they are a very dangerous team in space because they break very well, very fast, and we have to be a little careful.

    "We can't afford to be complacent. We have two months to refine ourselves a bit more, to study the opponents more and get to the tie in good shape."

    Barca, three points clear in LaLiga, are aiming to improve on three straight quarter-final exits in the Champions League.

    They will meet Lyon in France on February 19 before hosting the return leg in Spain the following month.

  • Klopp's Liverpool are vulnerable – Neuer Klopp's Liverpool are vulnerable – Neuer

    Manuel Neuer is confident Bayern Munich can beat Liverpool in the Champions League, claiming Jurgen Klopp's men are "vulnerable". 

    The European giants were paired together at Monday's draw, with the two round-of-16 legs to be played in February and March. 

    Liverpool will hope to be still on top of the Premier League when the games come around – they moved back to the summit thanks to Sunday's 3-1 defeat of Manchester United at Anfield – while Bayern will expect to have closed the nine-point deficit to Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund. 

    Irrespective of their differing domestic seasons to date, facing the Reds holds no fear for experienced Germany goalkeeper Neuer. 

    He told the club's official website: "They're having a very good season and we know they were in the Champions League final last year. 

    "They certainly won't be delighted with the draw, either. 

    "They can counter quickly and they're dangerous in front of goal, but they're also vulnerable, as we've seen, and they'll be up against a good Bayern attack.

    "It'll be a great game both at Liverpool and also at home at the Allianz Arena."

    Bayern's under-pressure boss Niko Kovac did not rate his team's chances as greater than 50-50.

    He said: "We can all look forward to such a great game. It’s the toughest draw we could’ve been given. Liverpool got to the final last year, they’re top of the Premier League and one of the favourites for the Champions League.

    "We're Bayern Munich, though, and I'm sure Liverpool know they've got to come here to Munich for the second leg. The chances are 50-50. We'll see what happens. I'm very confident we'll get through."

    Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said Liverpool were "the team of the hour" while Arjen Robben described it as an "epic match".

    The Dutchman, who is leaving Bayern at the end of the season, said: "It's an epic match. Liverpool are a super team who have gone through a great development.

    "They have big players, a lot of pace and creativity in attack and they're a real unit. The atmosphere will be phenomenal. It's just a great draw. It's a dream for every player to be involved in a game like this."

  • Atletico confirm Filipe Luis hamstring injury Atletico confirm Filipe Luis hamstring injury

    Atletico Madrid defender Filipe Luis looks set to be out of action for around three weeks after the club confirmed he has suffered a hamstring strain.

    The Brazilian left-back was forced off an hour into Atletico's dramatic 3-2 win at Real Valladolid on Saturday.

    Atletico announced on Monday that, following an MRI scan, the 33-year-old sustained a grade one strain.

    Although the club have not set a specific return date, a rest period of three weeks is recommended after such injuries.

    As such, Filipe Luis will most likely miss Saturday's visit of Espanyol and the trip to second-placed Sevilla on January 6, although he could be in contention to return against Girona in the Copa del Rey three days later.

    Filipe Luis has played in 13 of Atletico's 16 LaLiga games this term.

SportsMax Zone

Latest Tweets

Which match-up is the most mouth-watering of the round of 16? Champions League last 16: Draw in full  See full dr… https://t.co/kRVVZJTPx3
has Shai Hope's performances in the ODIs and now in this T20 changed the views on his ability as a short form crick… https://t.co/e8sRXkT7Ah
Will the Guyana Jaguars win it all again this season? https://t.co/Z7u7pJ57kP https://t.co/oR5FJLOHLz
Follow SportsMax on Twitter
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.