Allegri: 'Juve-Milan is knockout practice'

Max Allegri called Cristiano Ronaldo “the best player in the world” and told Juventus to use Milan in the Supercoppa as “practice for elimination rounds.”

It kicks off in Jeddah on Wednesday at 17.30 GMT.

Mario Mandzukic, Juan Cuadrado, Andrea Barzagli and Medhi Benatia are out of the squad, but Joao Cancelo returns from a knee injury.

“Either Douglas Costa or Federico Bernardeschi will step in, along with Paulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo,” confirmed the Coach in his Press conference.

“Naturally, without Mandzukic there isn’t a pure centre-forward as a reference point for the attack, but we’ll still fill the penalty area.”

Juve have won the Scudetto and Coppa Italia Double for three years running, yet have lost the last two editions of the Supercoppa.

“It’s difficult to figure out why, as we lost both on penalties to Napoli and Milan. I hope tomorrow will be different and that we can be more concentrated.

“There are 22 points separating the teams in Serie A, but those don’t matter here and it’ll be an important test for us. We must learn that playing a one-off match is different to a league situation.

“The main hope is that we don’t go to extra time tomorrow, as we want to get it done within 90 minutes. This is good practice to prepare for elimination rounds.”

This is the opportunity for Cristiano Ronaldo to win his first piece of silverware in a Bianconeri jersey. Allegri was asked if CR7 brought a stronger winning mentality to Juve.

“He’d have to win something first to prove that. Cristiano is accustomed to winning, he has won four of the last five Champions Leagues and many more trophies. Ronaldo is the best player in the world and an added bonus for us. The situation has certainly improved with his presence, although Juve already had great strikers.

“However, let’s not forget that Juve have played two Champions League Finals in the last four years and they were against what at the time were the best teams in the world. When it comes to that tournament, you need good luck too.

“The Scudetto is one of our objectives, as are the Coppa Italia, the Supercoppa and the Champions League. We want to reach the end of the season with as many trophies as possible.”

Milan have been struggling again this season and there are reports they could drop Gonzalo Higuain ahead of his move to Chelsea.

“I expect to see Higuain concentrated, eager and ready to make up for the defeat earlier this season. It’s a one-off match and he will certainly try to put in a great performance, so it’s up to us to limit his influence.”

Considering Juventus beat them 4-0 in the Coppa Italia Final six months ago, is there the risk the Bianconeri could be complacent?

“One of the great strengths of this Juve is our great respect for the opposition, otherwise you don’t win this many games. We have the humility to know how and when to defend. For example, one of our best defensive performances was the final 20 minutes against Roma.

“It’s a quality we should be proud of, not embarrassed by, because you need a strong defence to win the big games. I repeat, we lost to Real Madrid because of our bad defending.

“If we do not have great humility and respect for Milan tomorrow, then it’s unlikely we’ll win the game.”

Milan might not use Higuain, but they do have new €35m signing Lucas Paquetá.

“I saw about 30 minutes of his performance against Sampdoria, but you’d be better off asking Gennaro Gattuso about him!”

Allegri was also coy when asked about Aaron Ramsey, who reportedly had his medical this week ahead of a summer free transfer to Juventus.

“I won’t talk about the transfer market, because Ramsey is an Arsenal player and I cannot discuss him at all. The Juventus squad is fine as it is.”

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