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Allegri wants Coppa Italia history but will not give up Serie A fight with Juventus
Napoli’s 5-0 thrashing of Cagliari on Monday saw them stretch their lead at the top of the league to four points, with Juve’s clash with Atalanta on Sunday postponed due to heavy snow.
The champions face a tricky trip to Lazio this weekend knowing that a defeat would give Maurizio Sarri’s side a major boost in their quest for a first league title since 1990, despite their game in hand.
However, Allegri’s primary concern is Wednesday’s Coppa Italia semi-final second leg against Atalanta, with Juve targeting an unprecedented fourth trophy in a row.
“We have a game in hand. We play Lazio on Saturday and, after that, there are still 12 more matches,” the Juve boss told a news conference on Tuesday.
“The championship will be played for until the last day and the two teams will fight. Whoever is in front on May 20 will deserve to win the title.
“But we have the Coppa Italia tomorrow, which is an equally important goal for us, because no team in the modern era has won their national cup four times in a row.
“We have a big chance to do that this season, along with Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona [in their domestic cups]. We have to focus on Atalanta, and then think about Lazio.”
In positive news for Juve, striker Gonzalo Higuain has recovered sufficiently from an ankle injury to make the squad for the game in Turin, although Allegri expects him only to be on the bench.
Paulo Dybala, Claudio Marchisio and Gianluigi Buffon are all in line to be involved, too, as the holders look to build on their 1-0 first-leg advantage.
“The only person who has recovered for the bench is Higuain,” said Allegri. “[Juan] Cuadrado, [Federico] Bernardeschi and [Mattia] De Sciglio are out.
“[Marchisio] has an excellent chance to play. The formation will be similar to the one we played in the league game.
“Dybala needs minutes. He’ll play, although I don’t know if he’ll start from the very beginning. He is much better, he’s had great training sessions and we need him from a technical point of view.
“Buffon will be in goal.”
Ezekiel Azure Zion is a sports writer and a blogger who loves what he does.