West Ham v Juventus
Friendly – Sunday, 7th August – 13:00 GMT – London Stadium
Juve coach Max Allegri has confirmed that Gonzalo Higuain and Dani Alves are expected to feature for the Bianconeri in their friendly against West Ham. Speaking at a press conference ahead of tomorrow’s official opening of the London Stadium, Allegri revealed his starting XI for the game as well as addressing the constant press speculation regarding Paul Pogba’s future.
Allegri began by discussing opponents West Ham and what he expects for the friendly match.
“They played the preliminary of the Europa League and they’ll certainly be in a better condition than us. Everyone will be available but Lichtsteiner, who has a bad back. We haven’t been working together very long, and some players have done a month of work while others only 10 days. We had some training sessions together, others in separation.
“The team’s quality, technically speaking, is markedly higher. This doesn’t mean that the Scudetto is in our pockets, much less the Champions League final, absolutely not.
“We need to be aware of our strength but above all we need the humility that is necessary to win the championship. We’ll have to reach March still fighting in all competitions, and fighting to win. We’ll face many combative teams that want to challenge the Juventus hegemony.”
Allegri confirmed that summer signing Gonzalo Higuain will feature in the game tomorrow.
“You’ll see him, and not just for a few minutes. Juventus carried out a great market campaign, signing five new and excellent players.
“But integrating five new players is never easy. They have different characteristics than the ones we worked with and they don’t know each other. This year we’ll have to do that faster, it can’t take us 10 games like last season. Even though we did win the Supercoppa.”
“Dani Alves is coupled with Lichtsteiner, whether there’s a three- or four-man backline. Pjanic is a player who can play in front of the defence, or as a mezzala, although I do believe that his most appropriate role is the former. He should always be in the midst of the game.
“Pjaca is a young lad with enormous qualities, he can play as a winger and also as a trequartista. Benatia? You already know him, I think, because he played in Serie A. Higuain was the top scorer last year, so he completes a very strong attack department alongside Mandzukic, Dybala, Zaza and the above-mentioned Pjaca.
“Tomorrow we’ll play with a four-man defence, and I’ll give you the formation now, so everyone’s happy: Buffon; Dani Alves, Benatia, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Lemina, Pjanic, Asamoah; Pereyra; Dybala, Mandzukic. Neto will be subbed on for the second half.”
Speculation regarding Paul Pogba’s future has been an ongoing theme so far this summer and Allegri was quick to dismiss talk of a move to Manchester United.
“It’s only fair that Mourinho should choose not to talk of Pogba as long as he’s a Juventus player. I called up Pogba for tomorrow evening, so he’ll be in Vinovo for training on Monday. There’s no point in discussing replacements for Pogba because right now he’s a Juventus player.”
Allegri rounded off proceedings by touching on Claudio Marchisio’s return to fitness and his expected return date.
“Marchisio’s recovery is progressing well. He’s started running and he worked with the ball. I think the recovery time is estimated for October.
“The difference between the start of October and the end of October is a difference of 30 days so we’ll say the middle of October!”
4-3-1-2: Buffon, Dani Alves, Benatia, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Lemina, Pjanic, Asamoah ; Pereyra; Dybala, Mandzukic
Lichtsteiner, Marchisio, Khedira
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic is excited to be facing Juventus for the opening of their news stadium.
Writing in the London Evening Standard, Bilic declared: “I am thrilled that our opening match at our new home will be against Juventus.
“The Old Lady are one of the biggest clubs in Europe, they are more than a club if you like. I use them a lot to illustrate a point when I talk to players, staff, my friends. ‘Yes,’ I say, ‘football is a sport but at Juventus it is a sport for men.’
“It is professional, serious — and no one is bigger than the club. They have had some great players throughout their history, such as Michel Platini, Liam Brady, Roberto Baggio, Zinedine Zidane and Alessandro Del Piero, but it is always Juventus first and then the individuals, which is great and the way it should be.”
4-2-3-1: Adrián, Antonio, Collins, Ogbonna, Byram; Nordtveit, Kouyate; Feghouli, Noble, Quina; Fletcher