There's a little something different from this Juventus-Fiorentina. A week ago, Antonio Conte seemed to have a few choices to play with. He had didn't have a full squad to choose from, but he at least had options to do some kind of squad rotation if that was his goal.
This time around seven days later? Nah, not even close.
This is how Conte described the current injury situation at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday:
"This is the most critical period of my tenure at Juventus as far as injuries are concerned. They're part and parcel of a football season, but perhaps I should have rotated the side a little more."
Let me put it to you this way: Out of the 19 players called up by Conte for tonight's second leg against Fiorentina, 17 are senior team players, with primavera defenders Federico Mattiello and Filippo Romagna tagging along for the trip to Florence. Then you subtract backup goalkeepers Marco Storari and Rubinho, and the options for Conte to choose from are even that much more limited.
We know Carlos Tevez will be back in the starting lineup after sitting out the first leg in Turin. How? Because Conte came out and told us. (What a guy!)
But what about the others? Well, that's for Conte to know and us to find out. Hey, let the games begin!
Not exactly what you'd like to call a squad at full strength, right?
But that's Antonio Conte's reality right now.
A few hours from this post going live, we'll know what Conte has been thinking about. Will all the injuries all but force Conte to go as full-strength as he possibly can? Questions are out in the open, answers are waiting to be heard.
And just a few hours after kickoff, we'll know if Juventus are still in the hunt to turn the Europa League final on May 14 is actually a home game with black and white shirts all over the place.
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