Massimiliano Allegri has his sights set on a third-placed finish in Serie A after Juventus came from behind to beat Sassuolo 2-1.

The Bianconeri snatched all three points at MAPEI Stadium – Citta del Tricolore on Monday to take a big stride towards qualifying for the Champions League after Giacomo Raspadori opened the scoring.

Paulo Dybala equalised just before half-time and Moise Kean came off the bench to win it in the 88th minute.

Victory for Juve moved them eight points ahead of fifth-placed Roma with four games to play and just a point adrift of third-placed Napoli.

Defeat was harsh on Sassuolo, who posed a big threat going forward with Domenico Berardi, who has now assisted 12 goals in Serie A, the most of any forward in the competition in a single campaign since Ronaldinho in 2009-10, a constant menace.

Juve boss Allegri, who brought Dusan Vlahovic and Giorgio Chiellini on early in the second half but left Matthijs de Ligt on the bench as he has been suffering with illness, says there can be no let-up from his players in their remaining fixtures.

He said: "We have Napoli one point ahead of us. We hope to play well and try to overcome them, as we hoped to fight after the many positive results to be closer to those in the lead but we didn't succeed.

"Now we have to do the best we can from now to the end."

Juve had a tough start to the season, but Allegri is pleased with the strides they have made early in his second spell with the club, having seen his team win 16 points from losing positions in Serie A this season – with only Inter (19) having earned more.

He said: "We are doing a good job. I think Juve have laid a good foundation for the future and I think there are players with room for improvement, there are those who arrived in January.

"We need to understand that Juve are working in a certain way and I think there is a good basis.

"How we work every day, we know it inside and we are trying to do a good job every day, the seasons sometimes are born in one way, they end in another, there are situations like injuries, now we have five.

"[Federico] Chiesa has been out for so long, [Weston] McKennie the same, they have characteristics that we needed, I think the team is doing well. The team is adapting and doing well, maybe at the beginning of this race we would have lost this game and tonight the boys won it, there are also positive signs."

Moise Kean came off the bench to score a late winner as Juventus took a big stride towards securing a Champions League place with a 2-1 victory at Sassuolo.

Sassuolo were much the better side in the first half of the Serie A clash at MAPEI Stadium – Citta del Tricolore on Monday and they were rewarded when Giacomo Raspadori put them in front.

Paulo Dybala equalised on the stroke of half-time, though, and substitute Kean's first goal for two months in the 88th minute snatched a huge win for the Bianconeri.

Juve remain in fourth place with four games to play, eight points better off than Roma in fifth spot and just one behind Napoli.

 

Milan technical director Paolo Maldini says he is "proud" of the Rossoneri's impressive season so far, but has urged the team not to let the chance of a first Serie A title since 2011 pass them by.

Stefano Pioli's men lead rivals Inter by two points at the Serie A summit after Sandro Tonali's 92nd-minute winner secured a crucial 2-1 win at Lazio on Sunday, although the Nerazzurri have a game in hand.

Milan recently kept six consecutive league clean sheets to strengthen their Scudetto hopes, with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic's opener at the Stadio Olimpico representing the first goal Pioli's men had conceded in 568 minutes of league football.

Such impressive form has raised hopes of Milan winning their first Serie A title since 2010-11 this season, and Maldini is proud of the way they have proven their doubters wrong this campaign.

"As a Milanista, I am proud. Proud of the team, the staff, of the way we behaved, and for all the fans are giving us in this moment," Maldini told the club's official media channels.

"When you have a season like this one, the objective is to do the best we can. With the great opportunity we have, we need to aim much higher.

"I remember at the start of the season some didn't even consider us for the top four, but this something we have used as motivation.

"The numbers speak for themselves. We know that, to be here, to be one of the top two over the last two years, we need to keep hold of this spirit of sacrifice, I believe it is our most important characteristic."

Having finished a distant second to runaway Scudetto winners Inter last season, Milan are hunting their 19th league title after going unbeaten in their last 12 Serie A matches. 

Maldini – who won seven Serie A titles and an incredible five European Cup or Champions League trophies during his own glittering Rossoneri career – has called upon Pioli's men to seize the opportunity to make history after over a decade without a title.

"If we've gotten this far, it's due to the fact we've always believed we could," he added. "Even when we didn't communicate it publicly, inside the group we've always believed it.

"And so it should be, because we can't let it go by as an everyday thing. In the last 20 years, Milan has won two Scudetti. We're talking about Milan!

"Winning this year would be an incredible result and when you've got a chance like this, you need to give it your all. Should things not work out, you know you did your very best."

Milan's next Serie A outings sees them host Fiorentina on Sunday, with each of their four remaining fixtures coming against top-half opponents.

Paris Saint-Germain secured a record-equalling 10th Ligue 1 title with a 1-1 draw at home to Lens on Saturday, but that may not be enough to keep Mauricio Pochettino in a job.

The Argentine may not be heading for Old Trafford after Manchester United confirmed the appointment of Erik ten Hag last week, but he could still be going out the exit door after a demoralising campaign.

With PSG crashing out of the Champions League in calamitous fashion to Real Madrid in March, reports have suggested Pochettino could be replaced by the boss of his former club Tottenham, Antonio Conte.

With Conte overseeing an improvement in Spurs' fortunes since taking the job and possessing experience of managing big egos at former clubs Juventus, Chelsea, and Inter, could the Italian be the man to get the best out of the star-studded Parisians?

Here, Stats Perform uses Opta-powered data to compare the managerial duo.

Pochettino in Paris: Domestic dominance remains, but so does European fragility 

Many saw the decision to appoint Pochettino as prudent after he made 70 appearances in a two-year playing spell in Paris, before his relationship with compatriot Lionel Messi aided the legendary forward's arrival.

It has not, however, been plain sailing for the former Tottenham boss. PSG beat Monaco to lift the Coupe de France last May but missed out on the league title to surprise package Lille last season.

Lille led PSG by a point when Pochettino arrived and pipped the Parisians to the title by that margin as Pochettino became just the second PSG boss (after Unai Emery) to fail to win the Ligue 1 title since 2012.

While PSG rebounded to win the league in dominant fashion this term, moving level with Saint-Etienne as the most successful club in Ligue 1 history, their 34 matches required to secure the title is the most they have needed since 2014-15, when they wrapped up top spot on matchday 37.

The team's reliance on Kylian Mbappe, who has contributed to 36 of the team's 76 league goals this term (22 goals, 14 assists), could also prove a huge issue next term with the 22-year-old heavily linked with a move to Madrid at the end of his contract in June.

Although the star trio of Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe have recorded 37 goals and 32 assists in the league between them this term, they could not inspire Champions League success.

If Pochettino is to depart, March's humiliating 3-2 aggregate loss to a Karim Benzema-inspired Madrid will be remembered as the decisive moment of his time in Paris.

Having beaten the Spanish giants 1-0 at home, PSG have now been eliminated in four of their nine Champions League knockout ties when winning the first leg.

Fixing their fragility on the big occasions will be their foremost aim ahead of next season, which is why the appointment of a manager with one of Europe's most impressive track records has been speculated.

The case for Conte: Title wins and handling big names

Having won five league titles (four in Serie A, one in the Premier League), Conte is always mentioned when a vacancy at an elite European club comes around.

With current club Tottenham battling to ensure Champions League qualification for next season, however, could Conte be tempted to follow in Pochettino's footsteps if he departs PSG?

Conte has overseen a dramatic improvement since taking the Spurs job; before falling to a 1-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion and drawing 0-0 with Brentford, Spurs had plundered 25 goals in their previous seven league games, having scored just nine in 10 league matches under predecessor Nuno Espirito Santo earlier this season.

Star duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min have also been rejuvenated by Conte's arrival, breaking Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba's record of 36 direct Premier League goal combinations in February.

Conte's previous role at Italian giants Inter, however, might prove more relevant to what he could expect at PSG: the Italian excelled under huge expectations to deliver their first Scudetto in over a decade last season, ending a nine-year period of Juventus dominance he began by leading the Bianconeri to an unbeaten season in 2011-12.

Like Kane and Son, Romelu Lukaku – who recorded 24 goals and 11 assists in Serie A last season – profited from a direct style that saw Inter net a remarkable 89 league goals in their title-winning campaign, and has struggled to replicate that form since following Conte out of San Siro.

As well as his title wins, Conte's work with Lukaku, Kane, Son, and other big names certainly suggests he could have what it takes to manage the sizeable egos of PSG's attacking stars if he makes the move.

However, with Conte failing to progress beyond the Champions League last-eight in his career, the Italian would need to improve his European record in order to satisfy the ambitions of continental glory.

Stefano Pioli believes his Milan players do not get the credit they deserve after Sandro Tonali's stoppage-time goal sealed a vital 2-1 win over Lazio on Sunday.

Olivier Giroud had cancelled out Ciro Immobile's early opener at the Stadio Olimpico, but it looked like the Rossoneri would hand the title initiative to Inter after a series of wasted chances.

Tonali had other ideas, though, the midfielder popping up in the second minute of added time to secure a win that lifted Milan two points clear of Inter at the top of the table, although they have played a game more.

The result meant they have won three games against Maurizio Sarri's men in a single season (two in Serie A, one in the Coppa Italia) for the first time since the 2004-05 campaign.

Speaking to DAZN immediately after the game, Pioli spoke of his pride at his players' efforts and insists they do not receive the plaudits they should.

"I am so proud of my players and if I was in their shoes, I'd be angry," he said. "People don't give them enough credit. For years, they have been proving themselves at the highest level.

"We will try to win all the remaining games. We might not achieve that, but we will give it our best.

"We know it's a tricky fixture list. All we can do is take it one game at a time and try to do the best we possibly can."

The result confirmed Milan's qualification for next season's Champions League – an achievement Pioli says demonstrates the strides his side have made.

"The important thing is we are in the Champions League," he added. "This time last season, we weren't sure if we would be in the top four, so this shows further progress.

"There are still some steps to climb, but those are the ones that will give us the greatest satisfaction."

Tonali echoed Pioli's sentiments, saying that no one is talking about Milan being genuine title challengers despite their position in the table.

"We have to take it one game at a time," he explained. "We came here and nobody other than us and our fans believed in us.

"We are in front without hearing anyone say Milan are the leaders or that Milan are a strong side. We're used to it now."

Milan return to action next Sunday when Fiorentina visit San Siro.

Milan moved back to the top of Serie A as Sandro Tonali's stoppage-time goal sealed a deserved 2-1 victory over Lazio on Sunday.

Stefano Pioli's side had been usurped at the summit by local rivals Inter after their 3-1 win over Roma on Saturday, but victory at the Stadio Olimpico means the Rossoneri regained their two-point lead at the top.

Ciro Immobile had given Lazio an early lead with his 25th league goal of the season, but Olivier Giroud pulled the visitors level shortly after the interval.

Tonali then poked home two minutes into stoppage time to seal a dramatic three points and spark jubilant scenes among the travelling supporters. 

Luciano Spalletti insisted he must swallow the blame for Napoli's collapse against Empoli that all but ended their Scudetto hopes.

The evergreen Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne fired Spalletti's visitors into a 2-0 lead at Stadio Carlo Castellani before Napoli succumbed to a spectacular comeback.

Liam Henderson pulled one back in the 80th minute before a double from Inter loanee Andrea Pinamonti capped a remarkable turnaround to leave Napoli, who have played a game more, five points behind Serie A leaders Inter.

That made Empoli just the third team in Serie A history to win after trailing by two goals after 79 minutes, after Inter versus Sampdoria in January 2005, and Sampdoria against Sassuolo in November 2016.

It also marked the first time Napoli have lost an Italian top-flight match after leading by two goals since March 1942, a 5-3 reverse against Torino.

Spalletti's side entered the game sitting four points behind second-placed Milan, who were due in action at Lazio later on Sunday, and the head coach believes he should take much of the criticism for Napoli's frail mentality.

He told DAZN after the game: "I can only take note of what happens. Clearly, imagining an end to the game like that was difficult, but when you don't have the right intensity and concentration...

"We made a few too many mistakes, lost the ball too cheaply. Inevitably, the coach has to shoulder much of the blame for the attitude and consistency. The responsibility lies with the coach."

Goalkeeper Alex Meret was largely at fault for Pinamonti's leveller, his lapse in concentration allowing the striker to pounce and equalise, and Spalletti appreciates the error allowed Empoli a way back into the game.

"It depends on what you build day by day, the attitude that is consolidated, being focused, attentive. Something evidently went wrong," the coach added.

"When we talk about an error like that, some fear sets in and the opponents can take advantage. Even if Empoli hadn't won for a while, they played good football. These things can happen in football and it happened.

"It's important for us to keep possession because our characteristics are not suited to a physical contest. Even then, it didn't seem to be a battle to that level to become unsustainable for these players."

Individual mistakes aside, Spalletti reiterated he must take much of the blame for the second-half performance as he brought his own future into question.

"I am responsible for this team, for their attitude, their approach, so I take the consequences for what happens on the field," Spalletti said.

"Much of it has to be my fault. We've been working together for almost a year, there ought to be a mentality and reaction coming from my work with these players.

"We were challenging for the Scudetto, as everyone said, we had the qualities to challenge for the Scudetto, but if the level is this, I cannot avoid being called into question."

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri has warned his players of the technical ability of Sassuolo, saying they will suffer metaphorical "broken bones" if they do not match them.

The Bianconeri are in a strong position to seal Champions League qualification, and could cement their place in the top four further on Monday.

Juve sit in fourth place in Serie A, five points ahead of Roma in fifth having played a game fewer, with the Giallorossi losing 3-1 at league leaders Inter on Saturday.

Speaking at a media conference on Sunday, Allegri said: "Tomorrow it will be difficult because Sassuolo is a technical team, in an excellent position in the table and comes from a defeat.

"We will need a serious technical game, otherwise we risk going out with broken bones."

In the 17 previous Serie A games between Sassuolo and Juventus, there have been 12 wins for the Old Lady, three draws and two defeats, including in the reverse fixture this season in Turin.

Only in one season (two draws in 2019-20) have Sassuolo managed to remain unbeaten in both league meetings against Juve.

While not literally referring to injuries with that "broken bones" comment, Allegri did later provide updates on the fitness of some of his players, giving hope for Weston McKennie and Arthur, but seeming to cast doubt on whether Manuel Locatelli will play again this season.

"Today, after training, I will make the decisions on the midfield and beyond," he told reporters. "Arthur does not recover, we hope he is available for the Venezia game.

"As for Weston McKennie, yesterday he took his first running steps. He is improving. Manuel Locatelli, finally, is behind and I don't know if he will return before the end of the season. 

"[Matthijs] De Ligt will certainly play in defence, while I will choose one between [Leonardo] Bonucci and [Giorgio] Chiellini. Up front, I will also evaluate [Alvaro] Morata, we will see."

Arsenal's project under Mikel Arteta has taken positive steps this season, but the need for a striker remains.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette seemingly on the way out at the end of the season, that need could become even more pertinent.

If the Gunners achieve qualification for the Champions League however, Tammy Abraham's return to the Premier League could be on the cards.


TOP STORY – ARSENAL TO GO AFTER ABRAHAM

Arsenal are showing renewed interest in Tammy Abraham and are looking to bring him to the Emirates Stadium if they qualify for the Champions League, according to Star Sunday.

Mikel Arteta was very keen to sign the 24-year-old Abraham at the start of the season, before he left for Roma, who were able to guarantee a healthy salary and first-team football along with the chance to join Jose Mourinho.

Abraham has enjoyed a stellar first season in Serie A, contributing 15 goals and four assists in 33 league appearances.

While Chelsea can activate a buy-back clause at the end of the season, the Gunners would be willing to offer £50million (€59.5m) to secure Abraham's transfer.  


ROUND-UP

- West Ham have joined the race for Torino and Italy striker Andrea Belotti, whose contract expires at the end of the season, according to Fichajes.

- Real Madrid are in best position to sign German international Antonio Rudiger, who will leave Chelsea at the end of the season, Goal reports.

- Frenkie de Jong has been linked with a move to Manchester United, where he would reunite with incoming coach Erik ten Hag, per the Manchester Evening News.

- Ten Hag is also reportedly keen on signing Christian Eriksen, whose six-month deal with Brentford expires at the end of the season, according to Star Sunday.

Jose Mourinho has said he wants his former club Inter to win the Serie A title after his Roma were beaten 3-1 by the Nerazzurri on Saturday.

Goals from Denzel Dumfries, Marcelo Brozovic and Lautaro Martinez sent Inter top of the table at San Siro, though Henrikh Mkhitaryan pulled back a late consolation for the Giallorossi.

Having played the same number of games, Inter are now a point ahead of Milan and five beyond Napoli in the race for the Scudetto.

Milan face Lazio in Rome while Napoli travel to Empoli, both on Sunday.

When asked if losing to his former club made defeat any easier, Mourinho insisted not, though did concede that he is backing Simone Inzaghi's men to defend their title.

“No absolutely not," he said. "I want to win all the games. 

"I love Inter, Inter love me. Obviously now I can say that we don't play against Inter, Milan, Juve and Napoli, now I can say that I would like Inter to win the Scudetto. But before the game I was only focused on winning. 

"I love Inter but I love Rome and I love my job. We are paid to win."

Roma remain in fifth place, five points behind Juventus in the final Champions League spot having played a game more, and only two points ahead of Fiorentina and Lazio in sixth and seventh, having played two and one games more than both respectively.

Mourinho conceded that his opponents had too much on the day, describing Inter's players as "animals".

"They are too much Inter, the strongest team in the league," he said. "They have strong players on all aspects. 

"I say this with respect, there are many 'animals' in their team. To win against them you have to find them at a time when they are in trouble, as they were a few weeks ago, or to win against them you have to be perfect and we weren't. We have been good, but not perfect. 

"We did well but then we had a concentration break in the last 10-15 minutes of the first half. Then in the second half we conceded a goal from a set piece and my players knew it perfectly well because we had talked about it so much."

Roma had previously gone 12 games in Serie A without defeat, having not lost since the dramatic 4-3 reverse against Juventus at the Stadio Olimpico on January 9.

However, Mourinho did take solace in the fact it took a team like Inter to end that run.

"To lose after three months in Serie A, I prefer to lose against a team that is stronger than us."

Inter went back to the top of the Serie A table with a routine 3-1 win against Roma at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on Saturday.

Goals from Denzel Dumfries, Marcelo Brozovic and Lautaro Martinez took the Nerazzurri to victory, continuing their excellent record against the team from the Italian capital, despite a late strike from Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

It was not the result or performance that former Inter coach Jose Mourinho will have been looking for, with the defeat coming as a big blow to the Giallorossi's hopes of European qualification.

Simone Inzaghi will have been very pleased with what he saw from his team, who move a point ahead of Milan in the race for the Scudetto having played the same number of games, with their city rivals facing Lazio in Rome on Sunday.

Inter took the lead just before the half-hour mark as some neat play from the home side saw Hakan Calhanoglu play a through ball to Dumfries, who ran onto it like a striker to slide the opener past Rui Patricio.

It was 2-0 just 10 minutes later as Brozovic found himself on the left side of the penalty area, before cutting inside Gianluca Mancini and firing into the far top corner of the net.

The third arrived early in the second half as a neat ball from Nicolo Barella found Martinez, whose shot was parried behind for a corner, but the Argentine headed home the resulting outswinging delivery from Calhanoglu.

There was nearly a calamitous fourth as a cross from the right was helped back to Patricio by Rick Karsdorp, and realising he could not pick the ball up, the Portugal international urgently kicked the ball away before Joaquin Correa could take advantage.

Mkhitaryan fired in a consolation past Samir Handanovic from just inside the box with five minutes remaining but it was too little too late for the visitors.

What does it mean? Nerazzurri look good for title run-in

This was a surprisingly comfortable win for Inter, coming up against a Roma side that had not been beaten in 12 Serie A matches, the longest unbeaten streak for the Giallorossi in a single league campaign since May 2016 (17 under Luciano Spalletti).

However, the ease with which they took a two-goal lead allowed them to manage the game from there, and in truth the visitors gave them very few problems.

Inter remain unbeaten in their last 10 Serie A matches against Roma (W4 D6). The last side to reach 10 straight matches without defeat against them in the competition was Milan between 1988 and 1996 (17).

Title credentials on show again

When Inter were beaten 2-0 at home by Liverpool in the Champions League and then again by Sassuolo in the league in late February, things looked bleak for Inzaghi's side.

However, they have gone unbeaten in 11 games in all competitions since then, and have won their last five, sealing a place in the Coppa Italia final and top spot in Serie A, for now.

Inter a special problem for Mourinho

Returning to one of his former clubs where he enjoyed so much success was meant to be a pleasure for the self-proclaimed "special one", but it was yet another day of misery for him.

Mourinho took charge of Inter for 76 Serie A games between 2008 and 2010, averaging 2.2 points per game. After this defeat, the Nerazzurri are the only team against which the Portuguese has lost 100 per cent of his matches against (among sides he has faced more than once in the competition).

What’s next?

Inter travel to Bologna on Wednesday for more Serie A action, while Roma head to England to face Leicester City in their Europa Conference League semi-final first leg on Thursday.

Tic tac, tic tac, as it goes in the Spanish media. Real Madrid's courting of Kylian Mbappe has long avoided subtlety and discretion, but he remains their primary target.

The Paris Saint-Germain attacker has just about become the world's best footballer in the meantime, contributing an extraordinary 33 goals and 18 assists in 41 appearances across all competitions this term.

A move to the Spanish capital at the end of the season remains a possibility, and reports suggest Real Madrid will go all out to make it happen.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE REMAINS MADRID'S PRIMARY TARGET

Real Madrid are confident they will sign Kylian Mbappe amid the increasing likelihood of Erling Haaland joining Manchester City, according to the Daily Mail.

With the end of the season and the subsequent expiration of the 23-year-old's contract nearing, Madrid and Mbappe have yet to sign a pre-contractual agreement as a means of not disrespecting PSG.

While the club are playing the waiting game, they remain confident for the sole fact a new deal with PSG has not yet been signed and confirmed.

Mbappe has reportedly remained the club's first preference despite interest in Haaland, who appears set to join Manchester City.

ROUND-UP

 Anthony Martial appears set to return to Manchester United with Sevilla not interested in making his loan deal permanent, claims Fabrizio Romano.

Dejan Kulusevski will join Tottenham from Juventus on a permanent basis despite another season left on his 18-month loan, reports the Evening Standard.

– According to Tuttosport, Spurs director of football Fabio Paratici has also identified Torino defensive pair Gleison Bremer and Wilfried Singo as potential targets.

Real Madrid are also keen on signing Jude Bellingham but Borussia Dortmund are intent on keeping the 18-year-old and are prepared to increase his standing at the club, Bild is reporting.

New investment at Milan could see the Italian powerhouse target the best players across Europe's top clubs.

Milan have entered into exclusive talks with Bahrain-based asset manager Investcorp over a takeover.

The Rossoneri have been linked with Real Madrid's Marco Asensio and Isco and Liverpool's Divock Origi already.

TOP STORY – STERLING ON MILAN WISH LIST

Milan are monitoring Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

The England international is among a list of players that Milan would like to sign amid a reported lucrative takeover by a Bahrain-based organisation.

Sterling's current contract with City expires in 2023, but the Daily Mail claims he would turn down the Italian move.

 

ROUND-UP

 Christian Eriksen is gaining interest from former employers Tottenham after a good run of form, although his agent is set to meet with Brentford at the end of this season to formalise his future, claims Fabrizio Romano.

– Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga will hold talks at the end of this season to discuss his future having struggled for opportunities, reports Football.London.

– Jose Mourinho's Roma will open talks with Nemanja Matic's representatives as the Serbian midfielder prepares to leave Manchester United, reports Nicolo Schira.

– Manchester Evening News claims Manchester United have revived their interest in Villarreal defender Pau Torres.

Massimiliano Allegri says Juventus do not need to change their style to see the best of Dusan Vlahovic, as the striker prepares to face former club Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia semi-finals.

However, Allegri did acknowledge the Bianconeri must improve their attacking returns after seeing nine Serie A outfits outscore them this season.

After winning the first leg 1-0 in Florence, Juventus, who have progressed from each of their last six Coppa Italia semi-finals, remain among the favourites for a sixth domestic cup triumph in eight seasons, having lifted the trophy in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2021.

The Bianconeri are, though, just the 10th-highest scorers in Serie A despite Vlahovic netting seven goals in 14 appearances in all competitions since his January arrival, having scored 20 in 24 games for his previous employers this term.

Ahead of the Old Lady's decisive cup meeting with Vlahovic's former club, Allegri was adamant Juve did not need to change to accommodate the Serb, but acknowledged improvements were needed.

"Absolutely not," he replied when asked if changes might benefit Vlahovic. "Vlahovic has played 14 games and scored seven goals.

"Right now, we can't play like we did in November or December, because the games weigh more. There is no chance to recover.

"We need to improve the tenth place in the ranking of goals scored, we need to be more concrete.

"In football there is one thing that remains old, but it still counts: the goal difference, which then leads you to win or lose the championships."

Allegri has reached the Coppa Italia final four times as Juventus manager, already more than any other Bianconeri manager in history. His only elimination before the competition's final came in 2018-19's quarter-finals, a 3-0 loss to Atalanta.

The 54-year-old lifted Italy's domestic cup on all four occasions where he reached the final, and says Juve's strong run will count for nothing if they fall short of winning the trophy.

Although he also emphasised the importance of a top-four league finish and said a semi-final win would not "turn around" the season, he noted that reaching a final was a "good goal".

"The Coppa Italia only counts if you win it," he added. "If you lose it, you have failed completely. As for the championship, Juve must now think about finishing in the top four. 

"In early January, no one would have expected Juventus to be five points clear of fifth [Roma] with five games to go. Now we have to be good at defending [against] them.

"We haven't won games in which we played well, we lacked that little bit more to make the leap forward. We have to work on this, and the next year will surely be better.

"Tomorrow's game does not make the season turn around, but it will allow us to go to the final and it would be a good goal."

Juventus have lost only one of their last 25 home games in the Coppa Italia (winning 20 and drawing four). Coincidentally, this was a defeat against Fiorentina in the 2014-15 semi-finals, when Mohamed Salah netted a brace for the Viola and Fernando Llorente scored for the Bianconeri.

Orlando City star Alexandre Pato suggested Milan technical director Paolo Maldini knows the striker is ready to return to San Siro.

Pato is plying his trade in MLS for Orlando, where he is contracted until December 2022, but hinted at his willingness to move back to Milan.

The Brazil international scored 51 goals in 177 appearances for the Rossoneri during his time in Serie A between 2007 and 2013 before joining Corinthians.

The 32-year-old believes he still has what it takes to compete in the Italian top flight, which Stefano Pioli's side lead by two points ahead of Inter, who have played a game fewer.

"Orlando is fine and I still have a contract, but Maldini knows it: I would be ready," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. 

"Now I have matured, I have a different attitude towards football and maybe I would be useful with the younger players.

"I miss Italy and the Italians, the warmth of the fans. I always say to my wife, 'one day I'll take you to Milan and you'll understand what I'm talking about'.

"For me it was a fundamental city: I learned many things and I miss everything about Milan. And I'd like to go back to Milan, after all in Italy there are many players who are older in Serie A."

Milan and Inter face off in their Coppa Italia semi-final return meeting on Tuesday, level at 0-0 from the first leg, and Pato cannot pick between the two sides.

"It's a difficult one and Milan can't make mistakes,” he said. "They can win the title and beating their rivals in Coppa Italia would give them extra motivation.

"Olivier Giroud is strong, Rafael Leao can make the right moves. The game will be open, it always is against Inter."

As for the future, Pato has great expectations for Milan under the stewardship of Pioli and Maldini.

"I played in a team full of champions," added Pato. "This Milan side is improving and has a bright future because they are building the team well."

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