Gleison Bremer said his Juventus team-mates have pledged to ignore the Bianconeri's off-pitch woes after scoring the winner in Thursday's Coppa Italia quarter-final against Lazio.

Bremer diverted Filip Kostic's cross home with a glancing header on the stroke of half-time as Juve clinched a 1-0 win over the Biancocelesti, teeing up a semi-final tie against Inter.

The win provided welcome relief for a side sitting 13th in Serie A after being issued with a 15-point deduction last month, a sanction which has been compounded by a three-game winless run in the league. 

Speaking after his goal sent Juve to their eighth Coppa Italia semi-final in nine seasons, Bremer admitted off-pitch issues had impacted the team in recent weeks, but revealed the squad's pledge to rediscover their focus.

"I'm happy with this goal, but it was important to go through at this moment," the Brazil international told Mediaset.

"We know we've played two games not up to par, but we talked to each other and what happens off the pitch cannot spill onto the pitch. The club will take care of it, we will take care of the pitch. 

"Juventus are a top-level team, let's score as many points as possible and see where we'll be at end of the championship. 

"At the beginning of the year we lost a little something, then we spoke and we found each other."

Since the Coppa Italia quarter-finals became one-legged affairs in the 2008-09 season, Juve have won nine of their 10 such fixtures at home, the only exception being a 2011 defeat to Roma.

Coach Massimiliano Allegri hailed Juve's mentality after the hard-fought victory, highlighting the improvements made since Sunday's shock defeat to Monza. 

"The most important thing is the attitude, which was missing in the first half against Monza, where we conceded two easy goals," Allegri said.

"The boys were good. They are responsible. They must understand that to win matches, in addition to tactics and technique, you need the right spirit. 

"Today we won many tackles, we arrived first in duels, we defended well and played in an orderly and patient manner against good pressure from Lazio."

Juventus were without Paul Pogba for Thursday's win, with the midfielder seeing his second debut for the club delayed once more after suffering another minor injury.

Allegri does not expect him to return against Salernitana on Tuesday, saying: "Pogba is unlikely to be available in Salerno, because he's been doing little or nothing for a week. We hope to have him back as soon as possible because he's a player we count on. 

"I've been in the world of football for 50 years. When things go against you, then you have to be patient to get out of it."

Juventus cast aside their recent woes to tee up an enticing Coppa Italia semi-final against Inter on Thursday as Gleison Bremer's first-half header guided them to a 1-0 win against Lazio.

The Coppa Italia appears to represent Juve's best chance of silverware this season after a 15-point deduction ended their slim Serie A title hopes, and the hosts were good value for their win after dominating for long periods.

Massimiliano Allegri's men missed two good chances before hitting the front on the stroke of half-time, with Bremer flicking Filip Kostic's inch-perfect delivery home.

Juve were rarely troubled at the other end as Maurizio Sarri's visitors disappointed in the final third, and they will face their Derby d'Italia rivals across two legs in the last four after this routine win.

Kostic drew a fingertip save from Luis Maximiano as Juve got on top after a tight opening to the contest, before Adrien Rabiot headed straight at the goalkeeper when left unmarked just before the half-hour mark.

The Bianconeri made their pressure count one minute before the break as Bremer met Kostic's inswinging cross with a glancing header, which beat Maximiano to nestle in the bottom-left corner.

Luis Alberto saw a long-range strike deflect narrowly over as Lazio improved following the half-time introduction of Pedro, while Danilo Cataldi worked Mattia Perin with a 25-yard free-kick.

Juve substitute Moise Kean forced Maximiano into action at his near post following a rapid break with 20 minutes remaining, as the hosts looked to put the game to bed.

Adam Marusic fizzed a long-range effort wide of the bottom-right corner as Lazio continued to hunt a leveller, but that was as close as they came to breaking down a resolute Juve backline.

Paul Pogba will be made to wait for his second Juventus debut after being ruled out of Thursday's Coppa Italia quarter-final against Lazio with another injury problem.

The France international has yet to feature for Juve since rejoining the club from Manchester United at the start of the season due to a succession of setbacks.

He sustained a knee injury in pre-season that later required surgery, forcing him to miss the entire season to date and France's World Cup campaign.

Pogba was back on the substitutes' bench for last week's Serie A meeting with Monza, but he was not brought on by Allegri as Juve suffered a shock 2-0 loss at Allianz Stadium.

Allegri confirmed at Wednesday's pre-match press conference that the 29-year-old is now nursing another minor issue that will rule him out of the visit of Lazio.

"I haven't decided anything tomorrow in terms of the squad, apart from [Leonardo] Bonucci, who is still out, and Pogba due to flexor soreness," Allegri said.

"Unfortunately, when you've been out for so many months and raise the intensity level, pain comes and more time is needed."

Pogba, who signed a four-year deal with Juventus, has not played a competitive game since former club United's 4-0 Premier League loss to Liverpool last April.

"It takes time. Nobody can work miracles," Allegri said. "His body must adapt. We must use him wisely and in the right moment when he is ready."

In better news for Juve, Allegri confirmed Dusan Vlahovic will start his first game since October after returning as a substitute last week.

"Vlahovic will start, but I have to decide on the others," he said. "The game could last 120 minutes, so subs will be important. I'll decide the line-up after tomorrow's training."

Juventus were docked 15 points last month following an investigation into the club's past transfer dealings and are now 15 points off the top four after last week's loss to Monza.

The Bianconeri turn focus to the Coppa Italia next – a competition they last won in the 2020-21 season – and Allegri is hoping to put the club's points deduction to one side.

"The points deduction should not be an excuse for bad results," he said. "We must go on the pitch and do what's required. 

"It may be the first time a team has been docked 15 points, but we must handle this situation in the best way. We'll do our best in the Coppa Italia."

Massimiliano Allegri said Juventus "never had a first half like" their poor showing against Monza on Sunday.

The Bianconeri went in 2-0 down to the visitors at the break and were unable to turn it around in the second-half as Raffaele Palladino's men completed a league double over them.

Goals from Patrick Ciurria and Dany Mota were enough for Monza to secure a 2-0 win at Allianz Stadium, following their 1-0 win against Juve earlier in the season in Palladino's first game in charge.

Monza became only the second team ever to win both their first two games against Juventus in Serie A, after Inter in 1930.

Speaking to the media after the defeat, Allegri said: "I'm angry, we can't concede goals like that. We've never had a first half like today.

"We have to think about working on the field... we need to examine our conscience and start playing with intent again."

It was the latest setback for Juve after being hit with a 15-point deduction in Serie A related to previous transfer dealings, and Allegri was left in no doubt how much work there is to do to rescue their season.

"Reality says that we have 23 points, so we still have to win many more," he said. "This is reality, and if we don't look at it, we'll get hurt. 

"We are all responsible for the performance... In [our last] three games [in the league] we won just one point and conceded 10 goals.

"We facilitated the Monza goals, they came out with disarming ease. You can't allow them to get into the defence like we did. They got through us too easily.

"We didn't have any reactions... The last few performances were not up to par, when you lose you have to lose in another way, [though] there was a different attitude in the second half."

Massimiliano Allegri has too much going on with Juventus in the aftermath of their points deduction to worry about his future, according to the Bianconeri coach.

Juventus, then third in Serie A, were deducted 15 points last week following an investigation into the club's past transfer dealings.

They have always denied any wrongdoing and hope the sanctions will be overturned on appeal.

But Juve slipped to 10th before a 3-3 draw with Atalanta and will kick off against Monza on Sunday in 11th. Monza could overtake their opponents with a win.

Allegri was asked on Saturday if he had spoken to owner John Elkann about a contract renewal, but his attention is on matters on the field.

"I spoke to Elkann but not about this," Allegri said. "He asked me how the team is doing.

"Right now there are so many things to do, we need to stay focused on the league without losing sight of it. We have four months with goals to achieve."

Allegri is trying to keep his players focused, too, keen to maintain the belief that saw them earn 38 points on the pitch – even if they have only 23 in the standings.

"We have to be isolated from everything; we are asked to go on the pitch and win games," he said.

"We must be focused on what we have done so far. We must have revenge on our minds against Monza because we have taken only a point in the last two games regardless of external problems.

"There is a strong club. We think about making the results and reinforcing our ranking, which is 38 points. From that, we must move forward.

"We finished the first round [of the season]; now we have another 19 games. From tomorrow, we must try to score as many points as possible."

He added: "We scored 38 points. If you say otherwise, you can lose certainties; the team scored 38 points on the field.

"We have to work on the basis of that ranking there, then if they give [the points back] to us or not, there is a strong club that works to defend itself.

"We have to defend ourselves on the field – and indeed attack, because we have to score points."

Juventus will be able to call on Paul Pogba for the first time this season against Monza, with Dusan Vlahovic also fit again, though Weston McKennie is set to leave the club.

Pogba returned to Juve from Manchester United at the start of the season, having previously signed for the Bianconeri after leaving Old Trafford the first time in 2012.

But France's World Cup-winning midfielder sustained a knee injury in pre-season and later required surgery, missing the entire season so far and Qatar 2022.

Finally, on Saturday, coach Massimiliano Allegri was able to confirm Pogba's imminent return to action, while Vlahovic is also set to feature for the first time since the World Cup following a groin complaint.

He added of the pair's status ahead of Juve's home match against Monza: "They're fine. They did good [in] training, a good test the other day.

"Vlahovic's condition is better than Pogba's, also just as a physical structure, but Paul in recent days has come ahead.

"If a player is called up, he can play. Of course, they don't have 60 minutes in their legs, they'll have 30 at most."

Mattia De Sciglio will also be available to Allegri, but Leonardo Bonucci requires more time to recover his injured adductor.

Juan Cuadrado and Federico Chiesa, who is fatigued, will both miss the Monza game before returning to the fold against Lazio in midweek.

McKennie is another who will be absent this weekend, and Allegri does not expect the United States midfielder to return to Juve as a deal has been struck with a suitor, said to be Leeds United.

"There is an agreement between the clubs, then I don't know if it will go through," Allegri said.

"He's a player on the market, so it doesn't seem right and normal to bring him [for this game]."

Massimiliano Allegri has no regrets after choosing Juventus over Real Madrid despite the Bianconeri's 15-point penalty in Serie A.

Juve were penalised on Friday after an investigation into past transfer dealings, which the club are expected to appeal, before sharing the spoils in a 3-3 thriller with Atalanta two days later.

The stalemate saw the Bianconeri – who were third before the points deduction – move up to ninth, though they trail fourth-placed Roma by 14 points as they bid for an unlikely Champions League qualification.

Allegri vowed to stay at Juve after the punishment and reiterated his commitment on Sunday as he suggested he made the right choice in rejecting Madrid, who he had agreed a contract with in July 2021 before an approach from the Bianconeri.

"I never regret my choices, when they are made at that moment they are right," the Juve coach told Sky Sport Italia. 

"I am very happy to be at Juventus, in life there are always difficulties that help you grow, I am happy to be part of this club and I have no regrets. 

"When I make choices I am convinced of them, of course, I don't have a crystal ball. We are making young people develop and there are the foundations for a good future."

Juve appointed Francesco Calvo as their new chief football officer in the wake of the points deduction, after former president Andrea Agnelli and the rest of his board resigned in November.

Calvo will report to new chief executive officer Maurizio Scanavino following the latter's appointment earlier this week, though Allegri does not want to be distracted by the off-field ongoings in Turin.

"We have to think only of football and not get distracted by what's happening outside," Allegri said when asked about Calvo. 

"It was important to get a result and we hope to win again on Sunday [at home to Monza]. It's not easy to find yourself tenth in the standings, but everything is still open. 

"The team scored 38 points, it's Napoli who are flying at a difficult level to reach. We have a group that has pride and responsibility, we are Juve and we must bring the most glorious team in Italy to the top. 

"We need a little madness and recklessness, perhaps hoping that the others will start to lose. It's all still to play for."

Massimiliano Allegri acknowledged Juventus must "do something extraordinary" to qualify for the Champions League following their 15-point deduction.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) confirmed the punishment on Friday following an investigation into the Bianconeri's past transfer dealings, though the club confirmed their intention to appeal the sanction.

Former president Andrea Agnelli and former chief executive Maurizio Arrivabene also received two-year bans from Italian football, while former sporting director Fabio Paratici, who is now at Tottenham, was given a 30-month ban.

Juve, who were third in the Serie A table, subsequently slipped to 10th and 12 points off the Champions League places with 20 matches remaining.

"When they told me that the request was nine points, I immediately made the calculation on the distance from the Champions League," Allegri said ahead of the Bianconeri's clash with Atalanta on Sunday.

"When the sentence of 15 points arrived, I made another one – points that would be needed to go to the Champions League. To get there, you have to do something extraordinary."

But Allegri has urged his players to demonstrate unity in the wake of the sanction and remain focused on the task in hand – starting with the visit of Atalanta.

"It's a special game after what happened yesterday," he added. "We must all unite even more, continue to work with a low profile. We, the staff and the players, just have to think about the pitch.

"Nothing [changes], we still have to score points. We have to try to win tomorrow. Atalanta are in great physical shape. We play at home, and it is to be faced in the best way. We have to try to do the best we can.

"We must not start again, these judicial events concern society. There will be an appeal, as the lawyers have communicated. We must think only of the field.

"Given the new standings, which is a fact for the moment, we have 22 points, and we must try to win tomorrow to get to 25."

Massimiliano Allegri has told his Juventus players not to let their heads drop after being thumped 5-1 by Napoli as there is still plenty to play for this season.

Juve missed the chance to close the gap on Napoli at the top of Serie A, instead slipping 10 points behind the leaders with their heavy loss at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

The Bianconeri entered Friday's contest on an eight-match winning run without conceding, but they shipped five times in a league match for the first time in close to 30 years.

Allegri has no complaints with the scoreline and is now looking for a quick response when Juve face Monza in the Coppa Italia last 16 next Thursday.

"There are some defeats that are deserved and some that are undeserved. This time it was deserved," Allegri told DAZN.

"We had the strength to try to turn it around, but it didn't turn out like that. We can't let our heads drop because there's a long road ahead.

"We must congratulate Napoli. We were low on energy and were too deep for the first 20 minutes. We had good chances but every time they had a shot they could've scored.

"It is now about getting back on our feet, recovering energy and starting work again. The championship race is long so we must look forward."

 

Juve's run of 770 minutes without conceding in Serie A – their fifth-longest streak – was ended by Victor Osimhen early on before Khvicha Kvaratskhelia added a second.

Angel Di Maria pulled one back for Juventus before half-time, but Amir Rrahmani restored Napoli's two-goal cushion and Osimhen's second put the game out of reach.

Substitute Elif Elmas then added a fifth for Napoli, who made it four home league wins in a row against Juve for just the second time in their history.

Asked why his side crumbled so badly in the second half in Naples, Allegri said: "You don't always have to find justification.

"These goals we conceded, that wouldn't have happened had we had more energy. After the third goal, the world falls in on you.

"Osimhen had an extraordinary match and Napoli are showing they are the strongest team. Maybe in two months things will change. What is valid today is not valid tomorrow."

Luciano Spalletti responded to Massimiliano Allegri's claims that Napoli are Scudetto favourites by insisting the pressure is on second-place Juventus ahead of Friday's contest.

Juve are on a remarkable run of eight straight Serie A wins without conceding – their best such run since March 2018 – heading into the game at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Napoli remain seven points clear of their opponents, however, having lost just once all season – a 1-0 defeat to Inter last week that they responded to with victory over Sampdoria.

Allegri has constantly stressed finishing in the top four is Juve's main objective for the season and said on Thursday that the title is still Napoli's to lose.

However, Spalletti does not believe that is the case and joked it is impossible for Allegri to disguise the fact his side have more to lose than Napoli.

"I understand that for Allegri it is convenient to play as supporting actor," Spalletti said at his pre-match press conference. 

"But for a Juve side that is always stuffed with champions it is impossible to hide from the role of favourites.

"Certain investments pay off only by playing for the Scudetto and winning the Champions League. It's useless putting on a hat or a fake beard. Fourth place doesn't satisfy Juve."

 

Spalletti is one win shy of equalling Carlo Ancelotti (275) for the most victories in Serie A since the 1983-84 season, with Allegri just behind on 273.

Napoli boast the best attack in the Italian top flight, with 39 goals in 17 matches, but they come up against the strongest defence as Juve have shipped only seven goals all term.

Asked if it will be a case of style over substance in the top-of-the-table clash, Spalletti said: "Sometimes you leave a mark more with the visible than what you bring home.

"We will do what we like and what the fans like. We had [Maurizio] Sarri here before, who won nothing but people talk only about his football and his values.

"There was also [Rafael] Benitez, who won a couple of titles and was well-spoken of but didn't impress in the same way as Sarri, so you have to be careful.

"Juventus are good at dropping down in front of the penalty area. Then there's the will of the football you want to play and the skills you think your players have.

"Then you consider whether you can like it as a spectacle beyond the wins."

Napoli are unbeaten in their past two Serie A games against Juve (W1 D1), though not since 2011 under Walter Mazzarri have they gone on a longer unbeaten run in this fixture.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri put the pressure on Napoli by insisting they are favourites to clinch the Serie A title.

Napoli are seven points clear of Juve at the summit of Serie A, and that gap would grow to 10 should Luciano Spalletti's side come out on top in Friday's clash between the top two.

While the Bianconeri have overcome a slow start to put themselves firmly in the driving seat to secure a Champions League place, Allegri looked to dispel any idea of putting up a serious Scudetto challenge against Napoli, who last won Serie A in 1990.

He said in a press conference: "Napoli are the favourites to win the title, they have 44 points and only lost a game.

"They are technically strong and coached very well. Luciano is the best when it comes to coaching and teaching and he is proving so at Napoli.

"I respect Spalletti so much, he is so funny that sometimes we clash as we did last season.

"I am also a coach, but I do this job by chance. Luciano is so, so good, he's the best when it comes to teaching football."

The trip to Naples on Friday also represents the last game of the Andrea Agnelli era at Juve.

Agnelli and the rest of Juve's directors officially resigned back in November but will only be replaced on January 18.

"There isn't much to say about Agnelli," Allegri said.

"The results and the work that Andrea Agnelli has done over the years speak for themselves.

"I thank him for giving me the opportunity to coach Juventus, for being close to me and for working with him." 

This is only the fourth time in Serie A history that Napoli face Juve while holding a lead of at least seven points, with the last such occasion coming in 2011.

Napoli have won their last three home league matches against Juve, though only once in their history have they managed to win four in a row.

Federico Chiesa dedicated Juventus' late victory over Udinese to Gianluca Vialli following the legendary former Bianconeri striker's death at the age of 58.

Vialli, who also played for Cremonese, Sampdoria and Chelsea, passed away in London on Friday.

He was originally diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017 and, after announcing he had been given the all-clear in April 2020, he was re-diagnosed the following year. 

Vialli played over 100 times for Juventus, with whom he won the Champions League, Serie A, Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana and the UEFA Cup across a four-season spell.

Juve paid tribute to Vialli with a minute's applause ahead of Saturday's 1-0 league win over Udinese and played footage of his greatest moments on the big screen at full-time.

Chiesa worked closely with Vialli during the latter's time working as Italy's assistant manager alongside Roberto Mancini, with the Azzurri's Euro 2020 triumph being the highlight.

After setting up Danilo's late winner against Udinese, second-half substitute Chiesa told DAZN: "Our first thoughts go to Gianluca Vialli. 

"He was a wonderful person and I was so lucky to cross paths with him in my life, as he was a real champion, but above all a marvellous human being. 

"At the Euros he really was like an extra player, he was on the pitch with us. We could talk for hours about what a great man he was. The victory is for him."

Thanks to their second late victory in a row to kick off 2023, Juventus have now won eight on the spin without conceding in Serie A for the first time since March 2018.

 

The Bianconeri have recovered from a slow start to the season to climb up to second and within four points of next opponents Napoli, who face Sampdoria on Sunday.

Despite closing the gap on the leaders, Allegri insists finishing in the top four remains the immediate target for his side.

"Napoli are still clearly the favourites to win the Scudetto," he said. "They have a big advantage, whereas we want to consolidate the top four. 

"We're almost halfway through the season and are doing well. As I said, raising the bar means the performances rather than the results or targets. 

"We have to take it one step at a time, focus on working and achieving the minimum objective, which is a top-four finish."

Juventus have now scored six goals after the 85th minute in Serie A this season, which is the most of any team. 

Danilo's tap-in against Udinese came after Leandro Paredes played in fellow substitute Chiesa, who in turn laid the ball on a plate for his stand-in skipper.

"We were a bit too hasty at times with our crosses and passes," Allegri said. "We knew there could be difficulties, but that the game would improve as time wore on.

"We brought home the win late on because of good fitness levels and also mental strength. 

"Technical skill is crucial, but if you don't have that desire to give that little bit extra and get there a few centimetres before your opponent, you don't win these games.”

Juve now have 12 clean sheets after their opening 17 Serie A games, a tally only Cagliari in the 1966-67 season (13) can better at this stage of a campaign.

"As the coach says, we have to keep raising the bar," Chiesa added. "Eight wins in a row isn't enough; we have to keep doing better."

Massimiliano Allegri believes Champions League qualification, rather than the Scudetto, remains Juventus' aim for the season despite their remarkable upturn in form.

Ahead of Saturday's meeting with Udinese, Juventus have won seven consecutive Serie A matches without conceding, putting them within seven points of league leaders Napoli.

The Bianconeri's tally of 11 Serie A clean sheets is a joint-high in the big five European leagues this season (alongside Barcelona), helping them turn their campaign around in dramatic fashion after Allegri came under pressure before the World Cup. 

While some have suggested Napoli's midweek defeat to Inter opens the title race up to several teams, Allegri says a top-four finish remains a more realistic aim for his men.

Asked how Napoli's first Serie A loss of the season impacted Juventus' title hopes, Allegri said: "They don't change. Napoli are the clear favourites, they are many points ahead after 16 games. 

"They've had a stoppage and that's it, but I'd say that Napoli are having an extraordinary year and are still the clear favourites. 

"Then there's the Inter and Milan. Our goal is to stay in the top four and play for our chances in the Coppa Italia and Europa League."

Juventus are set to receive a further boost when they host Andrea Sottil's team, with Angel Di Maria available for the first time since scoring in Argentina's thrilling World Cup final triumph against France last month.

"Tomorrow, returning to the stadium with our fans and with the stadium full will be a good opportunity for us," Allegri said.

"We have recovered Di Maria. [Leandro] Paredes is improving in condition. Bremer is a bit tired and I will evaluate their conditions today."

Allegri introduced winger Federico Chiesa after 55 minutes in Wednesday's 1-0 win at Cremonese, for just his third Serie A appearance since suffering a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament last January.

While the Bianconeri boss is uncertain whether Chiesa is ready to start, he is enthused by the Italy international's recovery and expects him to have some level of participation.

"The other day he played one half if you consider added time. Those who enter the second half with added time always play almost one half anyway," Allegri said. "Chiesa did well, physically he needed a match like this, picking up the pace a lot. 

"He's growing in his condition; I don't know if I'll be able to get him to start, but the more he goes on the more playing time he puts in. I'm very happy."

Massimiliano Allegri acknowledges Juventus have room for improvement despite securing a seventh consecutive Serie A victory.

Arkadiusz Milik's late free-kick saw off Cremonese to extend the Bianconeri's winning run in a 1-0 victory that also marked seven games in a row without conceding.

While Allegri's side have been strong defensively, they have fallen below expectations in the attacking third – scoring just five goals in eight away matches in Serie A this term – and the Juventus coach is aware of the need to improve.

"Juve has a very important squad. At this stage, important young players came out," he told a post-match press conference.

"There are reasons to be happy, there is work to be done and to think that there is only room for improvement. The market is there if needed. At the moment, the Juventus squad is fine like this."

Juventus' hard-fought victory over Cremonese saw Allegri shuffle his deck in the second half, which ultimately proved decisive for Milik's late winner, and he praised the displays of his substitutes.

"We had five difficult minutes, then the game came back into our hands and Milik scored a great goal," he added, "I had important players on the bench and they did well.

"Chiesa came in well, [Adrien] Rabiot the same, [Leandro] Paredes did better as a winger. [Samuel] Iling-Junior came in well, [Moise] Kean, too. These changes on the bench are very important."

Allegri has further reasons to be positive amid the winning run with the quality of players due to return from injury – one of which is World Cup winner Angel di Maria, who has returned to training.

"Today he trained, he looks better," Allegri said, "Angel is extraordinary, he has extraordinary qualities.

"Unfortunately, he has taken this blow and we hope to have him available soon. Like [Paul] Pogba, [Dusan] Vlahovic and [Juan] Cuadrado. Everyone is needed."

Juventus host Udinese on Saturday, before then turning attention to what could be a crucial game on the road against Serie A leaders Napoli the following week.

Paul Pogba has stepped up his recovery from a knee injury and could make his second Juventus debut later this month, Massimiliano Allegri has confirmed.

The France international has yet to make his first appearance for Juventus since returning on a free transfer from Manchester United ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.

Pogba sustained a knee issue in pre-season and suffered another setback in October that subsequently ruled him out of the World Cup in Qatar.

Speaking on December 18, Allegri said he was still unsure exactly when Pogba would return to action, with the 29-year-old yet to start running in training at that stage.

However, Allegri provided a more positive update at Tuesday's pre-match press conference ahead of Juve's Serie A clash with Cremonese.

"He's running. The most important thing is that at the moment is that the knee isn't bothering him and it hasn't swollen," Allegri told reporters. 

"If he proceeds like this, maybe within 15-20 days he will be able to be with the team, but it all depends on his evolution.

"When the pace picks up we'll see how much and if he can train with the team. If everything goes smoothly, we'll see step by step."

 

Juve have six matches to play before the end of January, starting with Wednesday's trip to Cremonese, who are still seeking a first league win of the season.

Leonardo Bonucci and Dusan Vlahovic are among Juve's other absentees, while Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes are doubtful and Federico Chiesa is not fully fit.

Chiesa is on the comeback from a long-term lay-off, while Di Maria and Paredes only returned to Turin on Monday following Argentina's prolonged World Cup celebrations.

Some have questioned whether the pair should have been asked to report back for duty sooner, but Allegri never considered that despite Juve's injury issues.

"No, absolutely not," he said. "We've never had any sort of emergency [with injuries]. The guys who stayed here during the World Cup have worked very well. 

"We have to look between now and June 5. Getting them back a day earlier wouldn't have changed anything. 

"Over there they followed a one-week programme of work and it was right that they enjoyed the week of winning the World Cup, which doesn't happen every year."

Allegri also confirmed he will make a late call on whether to select Wojciech Szczesny, but Brazil trio Danilo, Alex Sandro and Bremer are all available.

Third-place Juve enter the match with Cremonese on a six-game winning run in Serie A without conceding – their best-such run since March 2018 in Allegri's first spell in charge.

Juve, who have won 10 of their past 12 league games played after a break of more than 50 days, are 10 points adrift of leaders Napoli and still fighting on multiple fronts.

"When there are 50 days without playing, only the results will tell if we worked well, if we rested well or not," Allegri said. 

"I think it will be a very good second part of the season. Napoli are the clear favourites for the championship, but there are many points to play for. 

"We have the goal of getting into the top four and then going there to play in the finals of the Coppa Italia and the Europa League."

The Bianconeri have won 1-0 in each of their past three matches on the road in Serie A, against Torino, Lecce and Verona.

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