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The Italian coach says that a victory on Saturday will be important for his side, but dismissed the notion that the match will be crucial to determine the Scudetto winner

AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri has played down the importance of the upcoming match against Juventus at San Siro.

The Serie A champions host the Bianconeri on Saturday looking to increase the gap to the Turin-based club, who trail Milan in second with one match in hand.

"I do not think the match will be decisive," Allegri told a press conference. "But it is normal that a victory from either side will break the balance in the league.

"We are ready to play a great match against a side who deserved their position in the table, based on statistics.

"They have the best defence in the competition and have not yet lost after 23 games."

Allegri then stated that Kevin-Prince Boateng and Maxi Lopez have both been ruled out of the contest, while revealing that Alexandre Pato 'will surely play', in what will be his first Serie A appearance since mid-January.

"I expect a convincing return [from Pato]," Allegri noted. "He returns in an important match for the league.

"He will also be very motivated to do well."

The 44-year-old coach went on to reveal that his side are wary of the threat posed by Andrea Pirlo, who left Milan for Juventus in the summer.

"That decision was made seven months ago, it is old news," Allegri said. "He is doing well at Juve, but I had no doubt about his quality.

"He is a reference for Juventus. We will try to limit his actions."

Allegri also said that Milan are in a good moment and admitted he wants his side to take the three points - even if the Rossoneri have to play ugly.

"We did not get off to a good start in February, but we have recovered," he said. "We are at the top of the Serie A table, with one point more than this time last season.

"I would like to win, even playing badly. But we are playing well now.

"I am sure that the match will be very good at a technical level."

Questioned on the Lega Calcio's decision to reject Milan's appeal to shorten Zlatan Ibrahimovic's three-match ban, Allegri said: "I took the news well in the sense that we cannot do anything about it.

"It is a judicial decision and we have to calmly accept it."