Soccer-Juve's Allegri pleased with Dybala progress as fitness improves

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Juventus v Udinese - Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy - January 15, 2022 Juventus' Paulo Dybala in action REUTERS/Massimo Pinca/File Photo

TURIN, Italy (Reuters) - Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is pleased with forward Paulo Dybala's progress this season as the Argentine's fitness continues to improve after a series of setbacks.

Injuries have hampered Dybala over the past two seasons but, having regained full fitness in recent months, the 28-year-old has found some form again, scoring in three of his last four games in all competitions.

The 28-year-old's future remains uncertain, with Dybala yet to sign a new contract beyond this season, but Allegri, speaking ahead of Juve's mouth-watering Serie A clash at AC Milan on Sunday, is more than happy with focusing on the present.

"Paulo is better physically, he is growing, he is very calm," Allegri told a news conference on Saturday.

"This helps him because he's freer to play, he has less responsibility, I'm very happy with what he's doing.

"I think he will give us a lot between now and the end of the season."

Fifth-placed Juve are unbeaten in eight league games and are a point behind fourth-placed Atalanta, albeit having played a game more, while victory over Milan would move Allegri's side to within four points of Sunday's opponents in second.

The Juve coach, however, is not aiming too high just yet.

"Let's not go too far with things. In the meantime let's try to get a good result tomorrow against Milan, who have been doing very well in the last year and a half," Allegri added.

"Congratulations to (Milan coach Stefano) Pioli, they are fighting for the Scudetto. We have to stick with them and arrive at the end of February in the best possible condition.

"If we talked about the Scudetto we'd be talking about things that don't make sense right now."

Milan are two points clear of third-placed Napoli and two points behind leaders Inter Milan, who have a game in hand.

Allegri added that Juve's Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci will miss the Milan match through injury, while midfielder Aaron Ramsey is also out as he nears an exit from the Turin club.

(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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