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Juventus coach Allegri wary of AC Milan

Turin, Oct 21 (IANS) Italian football giants Juventus' head coach Massimiliano Allegri is expecting a tough contest as the Serie A leaders go into Saturdays clash with AC Milan in high spirits, but wary of the challenge of taking on an improving outfit who sit five points below them in third place.

Juventus have started strongly in their title defence and now are on top with 21 points from eight points, while Milan are third with 16 points -- same as Roma but behind on goal difference.

"Milan vs Juventus is always a massive match. They're doing well this season with plenty of young, talented players who run, cover a lot of ground, possess good technique and are growing all the time under the guidance of an excellent coach in Vincenzo Montella," Allegri told Juventus.com/en on Friday.

"We know that they're dangerous on the counter-attack with the likes of M'Baye Niang and Suso down the wings and that's something we need to be prepared for. Furthermore, in Carlos Bacca they've a striker who's very good at exploiting any space afforded to him in the final third," the former Milan chief tactician added.

"No doubt about it, tomorrow (Saturday)'s will be a tough contest. We'll need to stand strong and play well technically too."

Allegri hinted that Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic has recovered from injury and may play at the San Siro Stadium.

"Of all the players recovering from injury, Mario Mandzukic is the only one who might feature tomorrow night," he said.

"Giorgio Chiellini is on the cusp of a return, but won't be ready until Wednesday and our game against Sampdoria. Marko Pjaca isn't available tomorrow either. Claudio Marchisio will be called up to the squad, having played for 60 minutes in Wednesday's warm-up friendly against Fossano," the 49-year-old added.

"Meanwhile, Daniele Rugani trained yesterday and we're continuing to monitor his condition closely."

He declared his defence line-up. "Tomorrow in defence I'll go with Medhi Benatia, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Patrice Evra," he said.

"Up front, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala are working well together, but let's not forget that Mandzukic has also played some good games and I hope he'll also be available for selection tomorrow as he's an important player for us this season.

"Pjaca too will be a big plus for us when he returns. Tomorrow there might be an opportunity for (16-year-old) Moise Kean to play a part of the match against Milan."

--IANS

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