Juventus poised to rest Higuain ahead of Barcelona tie

Massimiliano Allegri is likely to rest Gonzalo Higuain and play Paulo Dybala as his lead striker when Juventus play Chievo.

Juventus are poised to give star striker Gonzalo Higuain a rest against Chievo with the upcoming Champions League tie against Barcelona in mind.

Massimiliano Allegri's men host Chievo in Serie A on Saturday, three days before they welcome Barca to Turin for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

Higuain scored twice to help Juve into the Coppa Italia final at his former club Napoli's expense this week but is now set to get a break, with regular number 10 Paulo Dybala instead playing in a more advanced role in the likely absence of Mario Mandzukic (knee).

"Mario Mandzukic is unlikely to be in the squad. Higuain? Here is a good idea – maybe I could play Paulo Dybala at centre-forward," Allegri said at his pre-match media conference.

"Dybala is fine. In fact, he needs to play - Paulo is an aerobic player, a player that runs 12 kilometres per game. The more he plays, the better he improves his condition.

"On Wednesday he played 70 minutes, so I would say he is in an acceptable condition but not an optimal one. So he needs to play and from there we will evaluate."

Allegri, who will check on Claudio Marchisio's availability closer to kick-off with a view to resting Sami Khedira, told Juve not to be distracted by the upcoming Barca tie and urged his players to target 19 points from their last eight games to seal the Scudetto.

He added: "The points become worth more. We do not have the chance to lose because this game is another piece of the championship puzzle. We already drew in Naples so we have to win this one.

"From Sunday we will deal with the match against Barcelona, but games like the one with Barcelona do not take long to prepare for, it is such a beautiful and fascinating challenge, but it is a challenge that prepares for itself.

"What matters is Chievo. We must deal with the game very seriously – it is a risky one because we come from two difficult games, two games that were draining both mentally and physically, so we must never switch off.

"As for the table, we are not there yet. Roma can get to 92 points and so we have to make it 93."

Allegri – a reported target for Arsenal and Barcelona - again insisted he is committed to Juve.

"My own future is the least of my worries right now," he said. "This is a crucial point of our campaign. 

"At the moment, 100 per cent [I will stay] because I have a contract until 2018.

"I think this is the least of our problems, both on my part, and from the club's point of view. There have never been any problems between myself and the club."

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