ROME: Coach Massimiliano Allegri has urged treble-chasing Juventus to settle nerves ahead of their Champions League final with Real Madrid next month by securing the Serie A title, and another league and cup double, on Sunday.
With only two Champions League titles to their name in eight attempts, the Turin giants are determined to make amends for their 3-1 defeat to Barcelona in 2015 when they face 11-time champions Real in Cardiff on June 3.
Juventus took one step towards a third successive league and cup double on Wednesday with a comprehensive 2-0 cup final win over Lazio, as defenders Dani Alves and Leonardo Bonucci were on the mark for the champions during a formidable display at the Stadio Olimpico.
But Juve’s slip at Roma last week, where they looked jaded on their way to a 3-1 reverse that has added unexpected spice to the season’s finale, left a bitter taste in Allegri’s mouth.
Given Juventus are facing relegation-threatened Crotone, the odds should be firmly in the hosts’ favour.
But the Calabrians’ late-season efforts to beat the drop — they are currently one point from Empoli and the safety zone — has produced a turnaround in form in recent weeks.
“We’ve claimed our first trophy of the season, now we want the second,” Allegri said after seeing Juventus become the first Italian team to win three successive cup finals, two of which came under his watch. “Now, we want the second on Sunday against Crotone, who have taken 17 points from their last seven games. It will be a difficult match, so I want to see a clinical performance like tonight’s.”
Failure to do so could see Juve’s chances of keeping their hopes of a treble, last achieved in Italy by Inter Milan while under Jose Mourinho in 2010, hinge on the final day of the season.
Next weekend, Juve are away at Bologna, Roma host Genoa and Napoli are at Sampdoria and Allegri added: “We only need one more win, and we absolutely want to do it on Sunday.I want to see the stadium filled to the brim because it will be decisive.”
Roma, only four points off the pace, travel to Chievo for Saturday’s early game looking to keep the pressure on and buoyed by the return of Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman and trophy-chasing striker Edin Dzeko.
Failure to win though will hand the title to Juventus even before the Old Lady take to the field for their game on Sunday.