Massimiliano Allegri is adamant that “second favourites” Juventus can exploit Barcelona’s “weaknesses” in Saturday’s Champions League final.
Both sides are bidding to complete a treble in Berlin but the Bianconeri are considered clear underdogs on account of their opponents stellar attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, who have racked up a record-breaking 120 goals between this season.
However, Allegri insists that he is not solely concentrating on shutting down Barca’s forward line, claiming that Juve fully intend to exploit the Catalans’ deficiencies elsewhere.
“We need to be good against a great team but, like all teams, they do have faults – and weaknesses,” he told reporters on Friday.”
“How do you stop Barcelona? We need to think how to score. We need to be technically skilled because they’re a technical team and attack is their best weapon so we need to be very, very good at that.
“We must stay concentrated for 90 minutes. We need to be mentally strong and turn things around, because we’re second favourites to Barcelona.
“But the team is very calm and focused. It should be a great game; as with all Champions League finals, we’ll need some luck, and we’ll need to work for that.”
Juventus’s cause has not been aided by the withdrawal of Giorgio Chiellini, who had been set to partner Leonardo Bonucci at the back but has instead been ruled out by a calf problem.
Allegri admitted that the withdrawal came as a bitter blow but he is nonetheless confident given his faith in his defensive cover.
“We’re very sorry for what happened to Chiellini but I guess it was meant to be,” the former AC Milan boss stated.
“We lost a player who had been great for us since the start of the season.
“[Andrea] Barzagli and [Angelo] Ogbonna are both fit; if Barzagli feels okay he’s going to play, otherwise it’s Ogbonna.”
Allegri also pointed out that defeat would not be a disaster for Juventus, given that they are appearing in their first final since their 2003 penalty shootout yet now look poised to reclaim their once regular place among Europe’s elite.
“We started this season with an important objective – to get to the quarter-finals,” he added.
“Now we’ve got to the final, and we have to be first.
“But regardless of the outcome tomorrow, we’ve had an extraordinary season; apart from the league title and the 10th Coppa Italia, which had been missing for 20 years, we have to consider the consolidation of the team.
“This is important because it’s important to build some momentum in Europe.
“But of the two teams will win a treble in Berlin, either Juventus or Barcelona. Hopefully us.”