Massimilano Allegri has confirmed that his Juventus side will start with four defenders against Real Madrid on Tuesday but does not forsee chances of a goalless draw in any of their two-legged Champions League last-four tie.
The Bianconeri are bidding to reach the Champions League final for the first time since their runners-up berth in the 2002-03 showdown at Old Trafford. Juve eliminated Real Madrid, who coincidentally were then defending champions, but lost on penalties to AC Milan in the first ever all-Italian final in the history of the European Cup.
Allegri believes the Serie A champions-elect could deem deeper despite the weight of the underdog tag labeled on them prior to 120 minutes or what is expected to be a hotly contested face off.
The Italian said: “It’s a semi-final, they are champions of Europe so compared with us they could have a slightly better chance; but it’s not a semi-final where you can say we’ve got nothing to lose – we can lose the chance of being in the final. We’ve got to remember what we’ve done so far, that we have a chance, while not forgetting that we’re up against very strong opponents.”
The Old Lady could possibly complete a domestic, cup and European treble this season having clinched a fourth successive Italian title with a 1-0 win over Sampdoria at the weekend.
However, the 47-year-old Livorno native insists “all that matters” at these stage of the campaign “is results.”
He dispelled notions of a cagey affair at the renovated Juventus stadium after confirming Juve will follow suit and play a four-man back line; same defensive formation as Carlo Ancelotti had proposed for the champions in his own press briefing.
“In games like these you’ve got to aim if not to play a perfect game, then certainly to do fantastic things in attack and defence,” Allegri said. “I don’t think Juve against Real and Real against Juve will both finish 0-0, so we’ve got to do particularly well in attack.
“At the start of the season a lot is said, but at the end of the season all that remains are results. We’ve had some pretty good results and I’m delighted and proud.”
It’s been seven months and some days since Real last conceded and away goal in Europe- Marcelinho’s close range strike for hosts Ludogorets Razgrads in their first away game in Group B. They have reeled off eight wins in their last 11 away games, with their only defeat in the sequence being a 2-0 loss at Borussia Dortmund in the last-8 of the current campaign.
The Los Merengues are without a win in their last seven visit to Italy, their last success being a 3-0 victory at AS Roma in the Group Stages over a decade ago.
The Madrid club are in the semi-finals of Europe’s elite competition for a fifth successive season. Allegri’s countryman Carlo Ancelotti snapped Real’s run of three consecutive defeats in the penultimate round of the Champions League en route to ‘La Decima’ last season.
He added: “Carlo is an excellent, shrewd coach and he’s proved that with the results he’s achieved in Europe. I’ve got great respect for him as a person and his record in itself – important qualities are required to win in Italy, England, France and Spain.”