Juventus boss Max Allegri looking for Champions League practice in Supercoppa Italiana against Gennaro Gattuso's AC Milan

Chloe Beresford by Chloe Beresford / 16 January 2019, 12:14

The record of Massimiliano Allegri after taking of Juventus at the start of the 2014/15 campaign is simply stunning.

Since then, his side having whitewashed all opposition while he recorded league-and-cup doubles in four consecutive campaigns and the club have now added Cristiano Ronaldo to their arsenal, placing them even further ahead of domestic competition with the intention of winning the Champions League this year.

Yet the Supercoppa Italiana – Italy’s version of the Community Shield – is the one area where the Bianconeri boss has faltered, the dominance of Juve severely lacking as the last two editions have seen the trophy awarded to the opposition.

“It’s difficult to figure out why,” Allegri declared in his pre-match press conference before Wednesday evening’s match in Jeddah.

“We lost on penalties to both Napoli and AC Milan. I hope tomorrow will be different and that we can be more concentrated.”

The Rossoneri will once again be the opposition, and this time Juve will be in no mood to lose. Allegri has confessed that he wants this match to be “practice to prepare for the knockout rounds” of the Champions League, a competition this club so desperately want to win.

 

In the opposite dugout will be Gennaro Gattuso – who played under Allegri for Milan – a man who is looking to play the underdog role versus a side with so many obvious strengths.

“We’ve got to play our game with a relaxed approach,” the fiery boss revealed in his pre-match comments.

“The strongest team doesn’t always win in a one-off match. We need to see a great performance to beat Juve tomorrow, we’re well aware of that.”

Recent matches between these two sides have seen Allegri completely outsmart his much less experienced and often under-fire counterpart in a tactical sense, for example in last May’s Coppa Italia final which ended up as a resounding 4-0 win for Juventus. Furthermore, this is a chance for Ronaldo to add yet another trophy to his name, an opportunity the superstar will be determined not to pass up.

Both Coaches are expected to field their usual 4-3-3 formations, but Allegri is much more well versed in the finer tactical nuances that occur during the match.

This was proven once again in a clash between the two back in March last year. A fine first half performance from Milan and a 1-1 half-time scoreline made it seem like Gattuso could walk away from Turin with some rare points in the bag, but Allegri’s second half substitutions had his opposite number scratching his head and the match eventually ended at 3-1 to the home side.

As has been demonstrated on so many occasions in numerous different competitions, cup matches always have the potential to become a matter of talent vs. desire, with the latter sometimes coming out on top.

The latest reports suggest that Gonzalo Higuain will start the match despite rumours that the striker is about to reunite with Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea, a factor that will certainly create headlines if he breaks his recent scoring drought versus his former side.

 

Gattuso will need to channel maximum effort from his side in order to prevent Ronaldo and his team-mates from lifting the Supercoppa Italiana on Wednesday. At least there’s always penalties...

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