Clubs, Italian Serie A, Juventus, Paulo Dybala, Story

Juventus’ Massimiliano Allegri insists their match with Roma is one of the ‘biggest clashes’ of the season.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has hinted Paulo Dybala could return to the bench for Saturday’s game against Roma.

Dybala started the season well for Juve, scoring 10 goals in the first six games, but after only finding the back of the net twice in Serie A since September, he has found himself out of the starting lineup in recent games.

The 24-year-old started Wednesday’s Coppa Italia win against Genoa, scoring a goal and setting up another, but Allegri says that does not mean he is guaranteed to play from the beginning against Roma.

“I’m happy that Paulo Dybala was able to find the back of the net in the cup against Genoa,” Allegri told a prematch news conference. “Paulo has played in 38 matches this year, more than a lot of other players, so it’s not unusual if sometimes he has been on the bench.”

Juventus will be without defenders Mattia De Sciglio and Benedikt Howedes against Roma as well as goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

Paulo Dybala has found himself on the bench recently.

“Buffon, De Sciglio and Howedes are out for tomorrow’s game,” Allegri said. “Mario Mandzukic and [Juan] Cuadrado have worked with the team and could be available against Roma. I will decide today after the training session.

“Those that I have decided will play are Wojciech Szczesny, Medhi Benatia, Giorgio Chiellini, Alex Sandro and Gonzalo Higuain.”

Allegri is expecting a tough test against Roma, who sit two places behind second-placed Juve in Serie A.

“Roma are definitely one of the favourites for the Scudetto,” Allegri said. “Away from home Roma haven’t even been behind for a single minute and that says a lot about how much quality they possess.

“Eusebio Di Francesco has shown that he is able to prepare his teams well, both technically and tactically. He has been able to give the team a good balance, in what is a difficult environment. Looking in from the outside I think he’s doing a good job there, transmitting harmony to the squad.”

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