Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) celebrates with Juventus' French midfielder Blaise Matuidi after opening the scoring during the UEFA Champions League group H football match Juventus vs Manchester United at the Allianz stadium in Turin on November 7, 2018. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)
Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) celebrates with Juventus' French midfielder Blaise Matuidi after opening the scoring during the UEFA Champions League group H football match Juventus vs Manchester United at the Allianz stadium in Turin on November 7, 2018. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

Milan: Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has urged his side to step on the gas in December to tighten their grip on an eighth successive Serie A title before they turn their focus back to their Champions League pursuit in February. The Italian champions booked their ticket to the knockout rounds of the elite European competition with a game to spare this week with Cristiano Ronaldo setting up Mario Mandzukic to score the only goal against Valencia.

Next up will be a trip to Tuscany side Fiorentina on Saturday, the first of six league games before the end of 2018, which includes home games against European rivals Inter Milan and Roma in Turin. “We have reached the first goal with Champions League qualification, now we must maintain the same energy throughout December,” said Allegri. Juventus are eight points ahead of second-placed Napoli, who were held to a goalless draw against bottom club Chievo last weekend.

But Allegri said: “We still have lots of matches to play, by dropping three points you might lose the championships in the end.
“We hope to bring all the trophies home.” For Fiorentina “the match against Juventus always remains the most important of the year,” warned Allegri.

Juventus have won six of their last seven Serie A matches against midtable Fiorentina, two points off the Europa League berths and coming off a run of five consecutive draws. Juventus’s strike force of Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Mandzukic are firing on all cylinders, with one of the trio on target in 13 consecutive games in all competitions.

Ronaldo has scored ten times in total, including five in four straight away games, with Mandzukic on seven and Dybala on six.
And Portuguese star Ronaldo will be looking to impress on the final weekend before the Ballon d’Or winner is announced in Paris. Fiorentina’s midfielder Jordan Veretout said there was a great sense of anticipation ahead of the arrival of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

“For us it will be a very difficult task because they were already very strong and with Ronaldo they have become even more so,” said the French player. “They really can win everything from the Scudetto to the Champions League. We’ll have to leave everything on the pitch.” Brazilian left-back Alex Sandro is out for the champions with a muscular problem picked up against Valencia, with Emre Can still recovering from a thyroid operation, but winger Federico Bernardeschi is set to return.

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in