Tre­ble-chas­ing Juve need fo­cus for Ital­ian Cup fi­nal

New Straits Times - - Sport - MAS­SI­M­IL­IANO AL­LE­GRI

FOLIGNO be hop­ing for a sim­i­lar re­sult against the cham­pi­ons.

“I’m not wor­ried. On the con­trary, we have to re­main fo­cused on our ob­jec­tive and un­der­stand where we went wrong so we avoid the same mis­take in fu­ture.

“It’s one step at a time: now, we’ve the Cup fi­nal, then we’ll con­cen­trate on the league and, lastly, the Cham­pi­ons League.”

Ju­ven­tus will claim an all-time Serie A record of six con­sec­u­tive ti­tles if they beat rel­e­ga­tion­threat­ened Cro­tone in Turin next Sun­day.

But, af­ter los­ing shape, com­po­sure and ul­ti­mately the chance to cel­e­brate se­cur­ing the scud­etto at the home of their arch ri­vals, the pres­sure is now on to make sure there is no re­peat.

Win­ning a tre­ble, seven years af­ter In­ter Milan achieved the feat un­der the helm of Jose Mourinho in 2010, has been Juve’s am­bi­tion all sea­son.

But the pres­sure is be­gin­ning to tell. Ju­ven­tus have drawn two and lost one of their last three league out­ings, ship­ping six goals in the process.

“Lately, we’ve con­ceded a lit­tle more than we usu­ally do in terms of our de­fence, although over the course of a sea­son these things can hap­pen,” said Juve de­fender

I’m not wor­ried. On the con­trary, we have to re­main fo­cused on our ob­jec­tive and un­der­stand where we went wrong so we avoid the same mis­take in fu­ture.

Leonardo Bonucci.

“We should have wrapped up the ti­tle tonight (Sun­day), now we have to make sure we go and win the Cup on Wed­nes­day and do the same against Cro­tone.”

With six Cup wins but their last coming in 2013, Lazio’s record in the com­pe­ti­tion pales in com­par­i­son. Ju­ven­tus have won 11.

And though for­mer Ju­ven­tus striker Ciro Im­mo­bile, who has hit 22 league goals for the high­fly­ing cap­i­tal club, he be­lieves the “perfect match” can put a dent in Juve’s am­bi­tions.

“They (Ju­ven­tus) are a great side. They’ve reached the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal,” said Im­mo­bile. “We know how strong they are so we’re ob­vi­ously very con­cen­trated on the fi­nal. We knew we’ll need the perfect match.”

Al­le­gri is set to wel­come Paulo Dy­bala back to his start­ing lineup, af­ter the Ar­gentina front man came off the bench against Roma, but is still sweat­ing on the fit­ness of hard-work­ing Croa­t­ian front man Mario Mandzu­kic (back).

In a bid to end Lazio’s four-year wait for sil­ver­ware, coach Simone In­za­ghi rested a num­ber of key play­ers, in­clud­ing de­fender Ste­fan De Vrij and striker Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, for a trip to Fiorentina that ended in a 3-2 de­feat last Satur­day.

The re­verse had no bear­ing on Lazio’s league po­si­tion fol­low­ing their re­cent qual­i­fi­ca­tion for next sea­son’s Europa League, so may well pay div­i­dends.

How­ever, In­za­ghi — the brother of for­mer AC Milan striker and coach Filippo — is now sweat­ing on the fit­ness of midfielder Marco Parolo (knee) and Bel­gian de­fender Jor­dan Lukaku (thigh) af­ter both pulled up injured in Florence.

“It’s not what we wanted,” In­za­ghi said. “But that’s all part of foot­ball. I hope we get both back for the fi­nal.” AFP

Roma play­ers cel­e­brate af­ter Radja Naing­golan scored the third goal against Ju­ven­tus on Sun­day. Roma won 3-1.

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