Juventus are back ahead in the Scudetto race after disposing of early upstarts Inter Milan just before the international break, and will look to consolidate that position this weekend at home against Bologna.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, manager Maurizio Sarri spoke about tomorrow’s opponents.
“I hope Sinisa Mihajlovic will be in his dugout tomorrow. It’d be a pleasure to see him again.
“I like what I’ve seen of Bologna so far: the statistics say they’ve recovered many balls, they shoot a lot on goal and concede only a few shots. They’re a very dangerous team to face.”
Sarri is unfazed by the Juve being top of the table.
“We’re not interested in the table at this stage, we must be aiming to get better and better.
“What happened at San Siro no longer matters. I want to see my players focused on a difficult match because the international break is always dangerous.
“It seems cliched, but removing a player from one context, that being the club, and putting them in another can create problems: it’s not easy to bounce from one style of play to another.
“I don’t know if the game against Inter changed anyone’s mind about us. Scepticism towards me is something I’ve always lived with, and I don’t mind it that much.”
The manager also provided an injury update for the squad after the international break, as well as talking tactics.
“During the week we got Danilo and Aaron Ramsey back. As for Douglas and Mattia De Sciglio, we have some comforting news from our medical staff, but they’re still training separately.
“I think this team should be ready for both 4-3-3 and 4-3-1-2. The 4-3-1-2 isn’t a simple formation defensively speaking.
“Having said that, we’re doing well in that sense, even if we’re not yet perfect. Depending on the players we have available, we’ll choose between a No 10 and 4-3-3.
“As for Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala, I think they’re both best suited to play Bologna. Blaise Matuidi’s the archetypal, useful player on the pitch: he has extraordinary dynamism and physicality and he’s someone who understands situations and knows how to make himself available.
“Even with the return of Danilo, I’ll continue to coach Juan Cuadrado as a full-back. He has good acceleration and qualities to fulfil the role well, even if he must still improve defensively in an individual sense.
“I’ve preferred to give my defence continuity. I know Daniele Rugani well, he has great potential and one of my objectives this season is recovering him.”
Is there any future for Mario Mandzukic?
“He isn’t training with us due to an agreement he has with the club. I’m open to anything in the event something changes.”