Allegri plays down absence of Manchester United target Vidal

The midfielder did not feature in the Old Lady’s final fixture on the pre-season tour of Asia but the Bianconeri coach insisted he was merely protecting the player’s fitness

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri has dismissed the suggestion that Arturo Vidal’s absence from Saturday’s friendly clash with the S.League XI had anything to do with an allegedly imminent move to Manchester United.

The Chile international has been heavily linked with a switch to Old Trafford before the close of the summer transfer window and has repeatedly refused to publicly commit himself to the Italian champions.

After returning to training with his Bianconeri team-mates this week following an extended break due to his exploits at this summer’s World Cup, Vidal had been expected to play some part in Saturday’s pre-season clash in Singapore – but the 27-year-old did not feature at all.

However, Allegri insisted that he was simply unwilling to take any chances with the fitness of either Vidal or Carlos Tevez, who did not see any game time either.

“It was a precautionary measure taken in order to avoid any pointless risks given the state of the field of play was not good,” the Bianconeri boss told reporters after his side’s 5-0 win.

“Next week [Vidal] will be with the team.”

Allegri, of course, only assumed control of Juventus this summer, after the surprise resignation of Antonio Conte.

Given his predecessor had led the club to three successive Serie A titles, Allegri says his primary focus is on cracking Europe.

“My first goal for the season will be to get through the group stage of the Champions League,” the ex-AC Milan boss confessed.

“It’s a very difficult competition, so we need to be ready to get to our maximum level and go as far as possible.”

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