Massimiliano Allegri said on Saturday that nothing had changed for his Juventus team despite the Serie A club being hit with a massive points deduction for using transfers to artificially increase their balance sheet.
The Italian Football Federation took 15 points from Juve on Friday night, pushing them from third to 10th in Serie A and greatly compromising their chances of reaching next season’s Champions League.
Allegri’s team faces Atalanta on Sunday night 12 points out of the top four as the season reaches its halfway point, and the coach tried to deflect questions about the impact Friday’s ruling would have on his campaign and players.
“We have to close the first half of the season in the best possible way, after yesterday we have to be united as a group, put our heads down and work… We can only think about what happens on the pitch,” Allegri told the journalists.
“Nothing changes, we need to score points, tomorrow it will be difficult because Atalanta are playing well and in good shape… We have to go step by step.”
Juventus said it would appeal the FIGC tribunal’s decision not only to deduct points, but also to impose a series of bans on the club’s previous leadership and current sporting director Federico Cherubini.
Cherubini was banned for 16 months, while former chairman Andrea Agnelli and former chief executive Maurizio Arrivabene were banned for two years, while former sporting director Fabio Paratici, now at Tottenham Hotspur, was given a 30-month ban.
The club’s legal team called the ruling, in which the other eight clubs accused in the trial were acquitted, “a clear injustice”.
Juve have a chance to overturn the FIGC’s decision, in the country’s highest sports court at the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI).
Within the next two months, the CONI tribunal will confirm or annul the sanctions handed down by the FIGC, and Allegri wants his team to continue should the ruling go in favor of Juve.
“We had 37 points before yesterday’s ruling, one point from second with a chance of a Champions League place and maybe a title shot,” Allegri added.
“So, we must continue to do what we must do because the final ruling will be within the next two months.
“We don’t want to be two months later and regret not doing what we were supposed to do.”