Allegri: 'Higuain is not a problem'

Juventus will be eager to open its account in Group D of the Champions League after losing to Barcelona in its opening fixture.

Gonzalo Higuain playing for Juventus   -  Getty Images

Massimiliano Allegri insists Gonzalo Higuain remains an "important player" at Juventus despite the striker's recent struggles in front of goal.

The former Real Madrid frontman has scored just twice for his club this season and was surprisingly dropped from the starting XI for the 4-0 Serie A Derby della Mole victory over Torino at the weekend.

While Allegri refused to confirm whether Higuain would be restored to the attack for Wednesday's Champions League clash with Olympiacos, he offered his backing to a player who scored 24 times in Juventus' league-winning campaign in 2016-17.

"Higuain is not a problem — it would be a problem if he didn't play for Juventus," he said.

"With the vast amount of options I have up front, it's to be expected that regular starters may be benched now and again.

"Higuain just needs to keep calm and focused on performing the way he knows best. He remains an important player for us.

"I talked to Gonzalo — he's okay. I think that the player has to work, he has to be ready when called upon. Gonzalo is a first-choice player, but on such a day I chose to leave him on the bench.

"He still has to think positively — he has to do what he can do, nothing less and nothing more."

Whether Higuain starts or not, Juventus know it needs to beat its Greek opponents at home.

The Italian champion lost away in Barcelona in its opening Group D fixture and Allegri has warned his squad to take nothing for granted now it is back on home turf.

"We will never underestimate this team — all the games in the Champions League are difficult," he added.

"We can only win this game, because we lost our first game. This group is about to start — we have to start to win from now, otherwise it will be complicated later on."

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