Juventus had a fine-tuning session in view of the Peace Cup semi-final against Real Madrid. Compared to the last few days the training ground was different: it was not the Estadio Guadalchivir which was the location for the friendly match between Lyon and Seville, both eliminated from the tournament, but the Ciudad Deportivo, the headquarters of the Spanish team. After a warm-up the bianconeri were divided into two groups, one made up of defenders and the other of midfielders and attackers alternating athletic work with tactical work.
Claudio Marchisio was back on the field who after the pharyngitis suffered during the last few days worked separately just like Momo Sissoko, Paolo De Ceglie and Jonathan Zebina. The Mali player who recently worked in the gym and continued his therapy and physiotherapy to heal the periostitis to the left foot, today returned to the field. The workload will be increased gradually in the coming days. De Ceglie continued with his functional recovery following the distortion suffered during the Under 21 European Cup and as from today began intensifying the training with the ball. Zebina took part in a separate athletic session to recover from a general state of fatigue.
Words from Ferrara's press conference.
Ferrara: «Friendly matches do not exist»
The Peace Cup is about to enter its most exciting part: On Friday Juventus and Real Madrid will play for access to the final of the tournament and expectations are on the rise: «We will try to win – began Ciro Ferrara during the eve’s press conference – It is of great satisfaction being able to play such great matches, even though it is not the Champions League. When there are such matches, during a preparatory period with many important novelties, there is great curiosity to know the real value of the teams. Even though it will not give definite judgements, indications on what must be improved and on the good done up to now can be drawn. We are here to try and win the tournament and if this must be by going past Real, then it is even better».
In such cases one cannot speak of friendly matches and this is true in the eyes of Ferrara: «To me there is no such match as a friendly match. This is the mentality we must have whether the opponent is Real Madrid, Vicenza or Cisco Roma. If you are Juventus and you are striving to become a strong team you must always play to win. In such matches you don’t even need to work on motivation. It is a match between great champions and therefore all want to show their value».
The match against Seongnam which opened the doors to the semi-final for Juventus, already gave useful indications especially withy regards to Diego’s talent and the personality of Felipe Melo: «It was important for both of them to begin gaining confidence with their mates during the match. It is clear that some players are more fit then others. The intention is to have all in the best condition possible before the start of the championship and therefore it is clear that Diego and Felipe Melo will have to play for longer periods».
For Ferrara the match is a first as a coach but in his past as a player the precedents are quite a few: «I remember Real-Madris- Napoli (2-0) on my debut in the Champions Cup, played in an empty stadium. At the time I was marking Butrageno...». Apparently El Buitre in the past few days was seen in the hotel were Juventus are staying: «He was here? I didn’t see him, but in reality I didn’t see him neither when he scored in the return match – joked Ferrara – Luckily now things are different and I don’t play anymore…».
With regards to the possible formation against Real, Ferrara did not reveal anything: «we do not want to give any advantages to our opponents. All details are important even in this sort of match. Sometimes it is important to manage the group well because it is only right that all the players feel as if they are protagonists and having the chance of competing for a place. Even other coaches with more experience then me behave in this manner so it isn’t wrong. I announce the formation to the team during the technical meeting before going to the stadium».
No indications are given with regards to the starting eleven but there isn’t much doubt about the scheme to be used: We will not change our scheme. We will try to play in our manner, knowing that before us we will have a team that is made up of great ball jugglers. We have other characteristics but we are working to keep ball possession as high as possible, even though the Italian teams are used to move forward immediately and seek the goal. It is a sort of culture we carry with us. The fact of fielding more offensive elements is not always a guarantee of scoring more goals. You can even have a different type of formation and shoot at goal by means of the midfielders. It is enough to think of Rome who for many years only had Totti in front with midfielders capable of shooting at goal».
Real seems to be a perfect machine following the signings made but Juventus is no less competitive: «Perfect teams do not exist. There are very strong teams but it does not mean they win all their matches. Having spent a lot of money does not always correspond to definite results. We lived this at Juventus, when for many years, notwithstanding a careful management, we kept on winning. They invested very much but we feel we can make it. I will not give percentages but I know Juventus can win».
Ferrara wants an aggressive Juventus, capable of spectacular moves but also of concreteness. The coach is not inspired by any team in particular, even though he admits he admires Guardiola’s Barcelona very much: «Last year they played great football, with all the men moving but I wouldn’t like being quotes as saying that I would like a Juventus similar to Barcelona. I do not want to cite past teams, otherwise one would have to think of too many formations that made history like Napoli or Sacchi’s Milan. Remaining in the present day, Barcelona has great quality but even Manchester is a great team. I want a Juuventus capable of maintaining its characteristics of a team that never says die. It will be hard to be as spectacular as Barca and so we will try to be more concrete».
During the press conference, Ferrara is flanked by Giorgio Chiellini and the coach is asked if he intends re-transferring the defender onto the flank: «I believe that at the moment is one of the strongest central defenders in the world and therefore I do not think I’ll field him as fullback. It could be a solution in a case of emergency, but generally we will be trusting the left side in the hands of important players like Molinaro and De Ceglie without forgetting Brazzo, who can also play in that position».
Finally a thought about Caceres who could soon become a bianconero: «The medical tests went on well and therefore it is probable he will be part of this team. He will be another element to give us a hand. Ariaudo’s future? Well, he is willing to improve and with five central defenders he might find very little space. It could be useful being loaned out to gain experience but even staying could be important. I believe very much in him and we will decide together on what is best».
I think we all dream of these nights....