Napoli v Juventus
Coppa Italia – Wednesday, 5th April – 19:45 GMT – Stadio San Paolo
Fresh off the back of a 1-1 draw in Naples on Sunday, Juve head back to the Stadio San Paolo to do it all over again, this time in the Coppa Italia with a 2-goal advantage, but missing Mario Mandzukic . The Croatian was struggling in the last match and despite playing the full game, it was obvious he wasn’t at his best, so he’ll sit this one out, along with countryman Marko Pjaca who has begun the road to recovery this week. With Barcelona looming on the horizon, it makes more sense to rotate as much as possible in a game like this. Napoli will create an abdundance of chances, and you can get the odds for the scoreline on NetBet, but Allegri isn’t content with sitting back on the lead and he was quick to point that out in todays pre-game presser.
“It’s 3-1, first of all, that’s a different result than 2-0,” Allegri told the press conference.
“With 2-0, to be eliminated you need to lose 3-0. If it’s 3-1, that means that 2-0 is enough to put you out. So tomorrow we have to play to score goals, we need to score to go through that’s for sure. And we expect Napoli to play another great game like they did on Sunday. At the end on Sunday though the squad had shown its strength, sometimes there are situations in games where you can’t play, you have to defend and there are also the opponents. I understand and accept everything, but there are opponents too, otherwise we’d be playing against 10 silhouettes.
“I know two things in football, attack and defence. If you don’t have the ball, you have to defend. Simple. Then there will be games where you have it more than in others.
“Napoli, by the way, are a team who play very well, they’re third in the table and it’s always difficult to play against them.
“Among other things it’s important for us, because they’re a team who play quite similarly to Barcelona, so on Sunday we started on the path which will take us to the Barcelona games.
“Neto will definitely play, Alex Sandro should come back in, but I repeat I’ll need to see the training session today.
“We’ve expended a lot of energy, we have a game on Saturday and if I’m not mistaken we play Saturday, then Tuesday against Barcelona.
“So until Tuesday we have a game every two days, because it’s Saturday-Tuesday. So I need to try and manage our strength, I can’t look at one game, I need to look at the arc of the season.
“We’ve got a month and a half until the end of the season, everyone is fine and that allows me to change the lads on the pitch.
“Higuain’s situation is very good, by the way. As with the others who returned from international duty and worked at Vinovo, he did very well.
“On Sunday he played very well physically as well as technically, it wasn’t an easy game for him and I expected a worse performance.
“Irrespective of the fact he was left isolated by the team, since the team created little or nothing, he did things that showed he’s returning to optimal condition.
“Above all he put in a good performance mentally, it wasn’t easy.
“Returning to the changes, we’ll wait for training today but there could be seven or eight changes, we’ll see. I don’t know, but we’ll see.
“To get to the end, I need to try and not squeeze everyone, we have matches in the League which, after Sunday’s game, we have to win because Roma are behind us.
“Meanwhile, Napoli are still 10 points back so that’s important.
“Lemina had a good game on Sunday, for his features and characteristics as a player.
“You can’t ask things of players which don’t fall within their skill set and in their qualities.
“I’d give you the example of last year when Padoin played in front of the defence, once at Roma, two times and then he was criticised. They were making comparisons with [Andrea] Pirlo.
“Pirlo – aside from the fact he’s a world-class player – has different characteristics. I can’t ask any player who plays in front of the defence to do the same things Pirlo does, and I can’t ask Lemina to do the same things Cuadrado does.
“They’re two players who are built differently in a physical sense, and above all technically. I need to evaluate what Lemina did in the role by his characteristics, and he did well.
4-2-3-1: Neto; Dani Alves, Bonucci, Barzagli, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic; Cuadrado, Dybala, Sturaro; Higuain.
Pjaca (knee), Mandzukic (knee)
4-3-3: Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Zielinski, Diawara, Hamsik; Callejon, Milik, Insigne.
Giaccherini (hamstring), Tonelli (knee).
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