Allegri prepared for Inter clash

The reigning champions were guilty of relaxing their tight grip on the Serie A table in December, when back-to-back draws were only remedied by a 3-1 victory at Cagliari.

That sluggishness hurt Juve badly in Doha, the scene of Napoli’s dramatic penalty shootout triumph three days before Christmas, a result that saw the Supercoppa change hands.

So, while the Bianconeri could really have done without facing Roberto Mancini’s recovering Inter team in their first match of 2015, Allegri claims his men are “raring to go”.

“The first game of the year is always a strange one,” the former AC Milan boss told a pre-match press conference.

“The team that stays the most focused and alert will emerge victorious.

“It won’t come down to physical condition or technique, it will be mindset and mindset alone.

“The lads have returned from their holidays fired up and raring to go. A few days of holiday were required after five intense months. We won’t be suffering a hangover after Doha.

“I always like to win and unfortunately it didn’t happen in Qatar, but we played well and the game was only settled after 15 penalties were converted during the shootout.

“It’s a shame we lost, but our season so far has been almost flawless in terms of targets.

“Now we need to think positively, get back to winning ways and put in decent displays, looking to improve on the recent performances that have been less dazzling in terms of our play.”

Andrea Barzagli, Kwadwo Asamoah and Romulo are absent through injury while Inter are missing Yuto Nagatomo, who is competing for Japan at the AFC Asian Cup.

Inter have looked more self-assured since Mancini returned to the club but they head into the new year in a distant 11th place, a far cry from his first tenure.

Two wins could restore the Nerazzurri to the fringes of the European places, however, and their boss is eager to make immediate inroads during Tuesday’s derby.

“It will be a difficult game because Juventus have done really well in the last few years,” Mancini told inter.it.

“It’s a classic feature of Italian football that, in these matches, the team that keeps their concentration the best can beat anybody.

“We are Inter, a great club, and every match is there for us to win.

“Getting a result from big games like this can lead to key changes, most importantly in giving the lads a boost in their self-esteem.

“I don’t want to see a team going out there tomorrow thinking that this is an impossible task.

“I really don’t think there is as much of a difference between Juventus and Inter as the league table has tried to indicate recently.”

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