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Allegri warns Atletico Madrid: “Juventus will be ready for return leg”

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Massimiliano Allegri believes Juventus will be ready to attempt a comeback against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League and will do everything to make it happen.

The Bianconeri’s hopes of winning Europe’s biggest club competition for the first time in 23 years were handed a major blow on Wednesday by Atletico, who defeated them 2-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

It’s left Juventus with the daunting task of finding a way to overturn a two-goal deficit to Atletico, who boast La Liga’s best defensive record of just 17 goals conceded in 24 games, in the return leg at Turin next month.

“We have 20 days to prepare for the return leg on March 12,” said Allegri on the club website.

“It will be a great evening and we will face it with great enthusiasm and full of adrenaline. I don’t know if we’ll qualify, but we must do everything to make it happen.”

For now though, the Italian coach would prefer for Juventus to put the defeat to Atletico behind them and instead focus on Sunday’s trip to the Renato Dall’Ara Stadium to take on Bologna.

“To come into the game in the best condition we have to do well in our next three league games, starting now from tomorrow,” continued Allegri.

“Playing the second leg now of Juve-Atletico would be a mistake, because from here until the game we need time to prepare everything a little at a time, step by step, like a bottle of water slowly filling up.

“Atletico Madrid are a strong team, and in the last nine years they have won three Europa Leagues and made two Champions League finals.

“In the return match, we absolutely have to do better than in the first leg, but one thing is certain: We will be ready on March 12.”

He added: “The players are doing well and they are calm. They had a good training session yesterday and we need to transform what happened in Madrid into an opportunity to do something extraordinary.”

Mattia Perin will start in goal for Juventus on Sunday with Joao Cancelo also set to get the nod by Allegri for the match at Bologna.

But Allegri is yet to make a final decision on whether he will play captain Giorgio Chiellini, while the unwell Miralem Pjanic is unlikely to feature.

On the other hand, Douglas Costa is set to make his first appearance for Juventus since February 2.

The Bologna and Juventus Serie A match will begin at 3:00 PM (CET) on Sunday.