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Pirlo promises changed Juventus ahead of Napoli clash

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The bigger question right now though is if the game will go on or not.

Juventus Training Session Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

Andrea Pirlo held his Juventus pre-match press conference well before this COVID craziness redux occurred with Napoli having two players test positive for the coronavirus, and later on it being revealed that Juventus had a couple of staff members also test positive.

Since his statements to the media, it has come to light that Napoli are saying they will not travel to Turin because local authorities, while said authorities insist nothing of the sort has been declared. Juve are also pressing on with the game and the governing body of the game Lega Serie A have also announced that if the Partenopei side don’t show up they will be subject to rules of forfeiture, i.e. a 3-0 win for Juve.

One suspects there will be more to report on Sunday, but before that, here are Pirlo’s statements, starting with whether he thought there would be a game or not this weekend.

“I don’t think there is any risk of the game not going ahead, as the Lega Serie A statement gave some pretty clear guidelines. We prepared the way we do for any other match and the situation has not influenced us.”

On his squad selection and tactics, especially in the light of the somewhat disappointing performance against AS Roma last weekend.

“I believe Napoli had a change of mentality with Gattuso’s arrival, they are a strong and cohesive team now. However, we’re equal to them and know what we need to do.

“We didn’t have pre-season friendlies to experiment, so we had to do our tests during the competitive match situations. We tried something against Roma and might try something else with Napoli.

“We didn’t interpret the spaces well when going forward in the Roma game. Having said that, I don’t think Alvaro Morata did as badly as some claimed. He didn’t have time to settle in and is a functional player, which is why we signed him.”

Pirlo will be coming up against Gennaro Gattuso, who has been a subject of a number of practical jokes from Pirlo over the years they played together.

“I happily embraced the problems of this wonderful line of work, otherwise I wouldn’t have chosen to do it.

“My best prank against Rino? That would be winning tomorrow night.”

Juve have a bit of a selection crisis with Adrien Rabiot suspended and the trio of Alex Sandro, Federico Bernardeschi and Matthijs de Ligt all injured. Pirlo was not against the idea of Arthur and Paulo Dybala both coming into the starting lineup.

“There is the possibility that Arthur will start as part of the squad rotation in midfield. We could see Juan Cuadrado or Gianluca Frabotta on the left, as they are the only two potential starters in that role.

“Paulo Dybala hasn’t played in two months, but was ready to come off the bench against Roma after a period of training. We’ll see if he plays from the start tomorrow or in the second half.”

There are still all sorts of rumours circulating around departures and arrivals with the transfer window closing on Monday, with Douglas Costa, Mattia De Sciglio and Sami Khedira all expected to leave and Federico Chiesa possibly arriving.

“They are training the same as the others and are ready to play.

“We are talking with the club, Fabio Paratici is taking care of it and we’ll see if someone arrives by Monday night.”