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Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri has challenged his team to “find an extra gear” when they take on Lazio in Serie A on Saturday.
The Turin giants are unbeaten in their opening three outings of the season, winning 2-0 at Empoli in their last game before the international break.
Lazio bounced back from losing their opening two matches by winning 2-1 at champions Napoli and Allegri knows they will pose a stern test at the Allianz Stadium.
He said at a press conference: “Tomorrow will be a tough game and we have to be 100 per cent focused on this game alone.
“Lazio are a direct rival for the top four. Lazio are a well-organised team, both in defence and attack.
“Tomorrow we’ll be at home, so we’ll see if we can find an extra gear to click into after the win at Empoli. There’s a good atmosphere in the group and it’s always tough to choose who will start.
“But it’s good to know that we have a competitive squad and that will be important to qualify for next season’s Champions League. It’s a young group with a lot of desire, and tomorrow is a big test.”
Allegri said there was a “good chance” Federico Chiesa would start, having recovered from the muscle issue which forced him to withdraw from the Italy squad.
Having Chiesa available will be a welcome boost for Allegri, the forward having already scored twice this season.
Allegri said he could not comment on the situation facing Paul Pogba, who has been provisionally suspended by Italy’s national anti-doping tribunal after testing positive for testosterone.
“We’re sorry about the whole situation and are waiting for developments and further clarity,” he said.
“We hope that light will be shed on what has happened as soon as possible. I can’t comment on other issues because they concern Paul directly and they are strictly personal.”
He also declined to elaborate further on the reasons behind Leonardo Bonucci’s sudden departure to German side Union Berlin earlier this month.
“I’ve already said everything I have to say about Bonucci, a number of times,” he said. “I don’t feel the need to say any more, I only wish him the best of luck for the rest of his career.”