No complacency for second-string Juve, warns Mancini
Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini has warned against complacency when his side host a second-string Juventus side in Serie A’s ‘Derby d’Italia’ on Saturday.
Inter welcome the recently-crowned Serie A champions to the San Siro needing a win if they are to realistically maintain their hopes of snatching a Europa League place next season.
With three games remaining, the Nerazzurri sit in eighth spot — two points behind sixth-placed Sampdoria who occupy the league’s third and final Europa League place.
Juventus are on a high after booking a place in the Champions League final against Barcelona on June 6, the first time they have reached the final of Europe’s premier club competition in 12 years.
With their Italian Cup final date against Lazio now moved from June 7 to May 20 — on Wednesday — coach Massimiliano Allegri has confirmed he will rest Carlos Tevez, Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon, Patrice Evra and Arturo Vidal.
Inter remain unbeaten in their last seven games, during which they have picked up valuable wins against Roma and Lazio, who sit second and third respectively.
But Mancini believes even a second string Juventus side will be a formidable challenge.
He warned: “It will be a difficult game. When a team makes the Champions League final, they usually play with tons of confidence.
“I don’t know what team they are going to show up with, but the players who have played less will be more rested and will also want to show that they fully deserve a place in Juve’s team.
“I think it will be quite a complicated game for us.”
Allegri confirmed to media on Friday he would “rest several players” including “Tevez, Pirlo, Buffon, Evra and Vidal.”
But the 47-year-old added: “It’s still Juventus against Inter and they’re in the hunt for a Europa League place.
“We have to go to the San Siro and put in a great performance technically and in terms of our intensity. You always need to play well when you go there.
“Now that I’ve got everyone bar (Martin) Caceres available, there’ll be the chance for the guys who haven’t played as much to have a run-out, especially those who were out for a long while.”
Mancini, who led Inter to seven trophies including three successive league titles in his previous spell at Inter in 2004-2008, was quick to praise Allegri for his team’s achievements so far this season.
He added: “They deserved to win the league title and you have to take your hat off to them for reaching the Champions League final.”
The Champions League ambitions of Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, meanwhile, could see the Slovenian demand a transfer request, although Mancini said he would not allow his other, top players — including Croatian attacking midfielder Mateo Kovacic — to leave.
“We won’t be letting any of our top players leave, and Kovacic is among them,” added Mancini, before hinting that Handanovic would be allowed to leave.
“He’s a particular case because he wants to play in the Champions League.”
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