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Non-Preview: Atalanta v. Juventus

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At the end of the training session on Saturday afternoon Ranieri announced the list of players called-up for the last match of 2008. Camoranesi and Iaquinta are not in the list, the latter owing to a muscle strain in his right thigh, whereas Grygera who during the last few days worked underwent gym training is fully available.

Another absentee is Pavel Nedved who was forced to leave the field during the first half of the match against Milan due to an inflammation of the insertion of the left femoral biceps. Three primavera players feature in the call-up list for the match against Atalanta: Esposito, Immobile and Pinsoglio.

Ranieri is preparing for the last match of 2008 and wants to end the year brilliantly. Sunday against Atalanta it will not be easy, considering the good championship the Bergamaschi are having and there home record: 

"We will be playing against a formation with 24 points and 19 of which they got from home matches. They are motivated, tactically well prepared, they close spaces and therefore the match will be one to take with all the precautions necessary".

Following the excellent victory against Milan, Christmas festivities and the Champions League draw there is they risk of relaxing too much, but Ranieri has drawn this to the attention of his men: 

"There have been a few distractions, I want to see how they’ll react. In Bergamo we cannot afford to get distracted for a single second if we don’t want to ruin the last two months. We must end the year well. I repeat, it will not be an easy match and therefore we will need to be the best Juventus, the one which is determined and motivated, the one we know".

On Sunday Juventus will play the match already knowing Inter’s result but it is the performance of his team that the Juventus coach cares about rather then the matches of others: 

"Would it be a nice present if Inter would fail to win? The best present would be a victory on our part. What others do only interests us up to a certain extent. We want to be at peace with our conscience".

Reference to the Champions League is inevitable. Juventus played and won one of the hardest groups, showing its character and play more on European level rather then in the championship.

"We had a difficult start to the season because we lacked fluidity in play; there were many new players who couldn’t find themselves. Then they managed to integrate and that is were the difference began to show". 

"In the Champions League we had the most difficult group and we played with great determination. It is what I’ve been saying since I became a coach: it’s not against whom you are playing that counts but your will to win and show your strength".

Is it with this mentality that Juve should face Chelsea? "This is the mentality with which we must face Atalanta".

At the end of the press conference the coach reserved a thought for Alessandro Del Piero, who has just been awarded the title of “Athlete of the Year” by Tg1 viewers: 

"If a player does well he helps the team by his contribution. Improving a team improves the individuals too. Del Piero’s qualities are well known. If he has been elected the best player of the year it is of satisfaction to him and to those who work with him. It is an award which belongs also to his team-mates".