Juventus start their annual Champions League campaign tomorrow with a group stage game away at Dynamo Kiev, but most of the headlines have centered around Paulo Dybala after the weekend game at Crotone.
The Argentine forward was unhappy about being left on the bench all game and later liked a social media post questioning coach Andrea Pirlo’s decision to do so. Pirlo revealed that he had spoken to the player and there was nothing to it.
“I talked to him yesterday. I talk to him like I do with everyone else. He was upset because he didn’t come in on Saturday but he is coming back from three months of inactivity and three days in a room in Argentina being treated for an intestinal virus.
“He could play in Crotone but we were reduced to ten men and it was not possible to let him in.
“Now he is available, sooner or later he will have to enter the pitch. He has not played a single minute yet, we will see what to do. He’s a key player for us, he’s a champion, and I certainly don’t notice it now that I’m the coach.
“He’s not been playing because he’s never been well and hasn’t been constantly training. Dybala can play anywhere, good players can find the right position on their own. He’s a striker, he needs to stay as close as possible to the goal. He can play up front or between the lines”.
“I’ll do as my players do. I’ll sleep, I’ll eat, I’ll come here for the game. I won’t play Play Station but I don’t change my habits.
“Lucescu was my first coach, he brought me to the first team when I was 15 and I made my debut at 16. We still talk to each other, I will always be grateful to him. Tomorrow is good opportunity to challenge him.”
The coach also provided a squad update, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Weston McKennie still out after testing positive for COVID-19.
“Cristiano unfortunately has positive for Covid and is absent, like on Saturday. We have other players who can play in that position, like Alvaro Morata did in Crotone.
“Aaron Ramsey feels better, he’s been training for the last two days, we hope to have him available tomorrow.
“I don’t think we’re gonna change any more men”.
On how he handles the pressures of managing the team -
“I’m feeling ok, unfortunately I can no longer play and I leave a little more tension to the players.
“I am serene, it will be my first game as a coach in the Champions League but in these tournaments, and in the groups, the first game is fundamental.
“It’s important to win it to continue with confidence and begin with three more points. We know what to do, we are calm but it is essential to begin with a win.”
After a great start winning the season opener, Juve have faltered somewhat with two draws in games their opponents actually showed up at.
“We are a team that is equipped for to win the Scudetto. Juventus always play to win everything. We will try to do it, if we are better than [our opponents], then well.
“We lost points in Crotone but we are a team under construction. We need time to work and to put into practice what we prepare during the week.”