Football

Allegri: Chelsea are quicker without Lukaku

Juventus visit Chelsea with their perfect record and top spot in Group H at stake

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said Chelsea "play with more speed" without striker Romelu Lukaku but added that the Belgian's "presence changes the way the opposition defends".

He made the comments ahead of his side's visit to Stamford Bridge for a clash that will likely decide who tops Champions League Group H.

GROUP H

CHELSEA JUVENTUS

Juve currently occupy pole position having won all their four games, with Chelsea three points adrift after losing the reverse fixture in Turin 1-0 in September.

The Italian side have been less impressive domestically, sitting eighth on 21 points, 11 behind early pace-setters AC Milan and Napoli.

 

On Lukaku, who helped Inter Milan win Serie A for the first time in 11 years last season and scored 64 goals in 95 games in Italy, Allegri said: "Lukaku is a point of reference, without him Chelsea play with more speed.

"His presence changes the way the opposition defends."

Juve centre-back Matthijs de Ligt added: "The way he plays makes the difference for Chelsea.

"Whether he is there or not will matter, even if they remain one of the strongest teams in Europe."

The 28-year-old, who rejoined Champions League holders Chelsea in August, has been out of action since last month with an ankle injury.

Said Blues manager Thomas Tuchel: "Not sure yet, yesterday he was on team training and seemed OK. Let's see about the reaction.

"Maybe we have the chance to have (him) in the squad for the last minutes and that's the absolute maximum.

"Jorgy (Jorginho) is okay, Kai (Havertz) felt his hamstrings and we have doubts...

"We have always had options. This is why we trust everybody, all the guys know what it takes to play for Chelsea.

"The attention goes to the guys who are fit and available."

De Ligt called on his teammates to stay calm but warned them to be wary of the Blues' counters.

He said: "We must be solid because they have quality, they are dangerous on the counter-attack.

"We must remain calm and use our technique that can make the difference. It's a tough game...

"Champions League games are different. Perhaps we have more space for counter-attacks, we have fast players such as (Federico) Chiesa and (Alvaro) Morata."

Allegri, meanwhile, implored his team to be more clinical with their chances now that they don't have their top scorer for the last three seasons, Cristiano Ronaldo, to rely on.

He said: "We must improve our finishing. We're creating good chances and making mistakes with the final ball.

"We've scored 18 goals and conceded 15 (in Serie A), we need to find more goals as a team...

"Everywhere Cristiano has gone, he's always been the top scorer. We have a lot of players who can score goals, but at the moment, we aren't finding them."

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