Juventus start the second legs of their Champions League group phase games, taking on Ferencvaros first tomorrow. The Bianconeri had required a couple of amateurish errors from the Hungarian champions to win 4-1 in the first leg, and will look to complete the double and seal qualification in Turin.
Speaking during his pre-match press conference, coach Andrea Pirlo wanted to make sure his side kept up the momentum from beating Cagliari last weekend.
“We must continue our path, we did nothing on Saturday, it was only a good game, we must have continuity or we would not be a big team, we are Juventus.
“We must go onto the pitch like it was a final, we need a win to earn the qualification [for the last-16 stage]. We must make it to let other players rest in the next games.
“We could then have two games against Dynamo Kiev and Barcelona to play in a different way and we could focus on the league [if we qualify].
“We have had other good performances before the Cagliari clash but we had the right approach on Saturday. Now the players know each other better, it took time to assimilate what we do during the week, we’ll try to improve.”
Pirlo insisted he would not be taking tomorrow’s opponents for granted.
“We know Ferencvaros’s strengths. We don’t have to see the result of the first game, we know they play a good football, we must face them as we know. It’s going to be a decisive game for the qualification.
“It’s an important game to give continuity to performances and to gain self-confidence. Players are not aware of how much they can improve. It’s a journey we’ve begun two months ago, and now we are witnessing some positive performances, but we must continue or Saturday’s game would be useless.”
Juve’s injury crisis in the centreback corps continues with now Merih Demiral joining Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci among the ranks of the injured.
“We only have four defenders, Alex Sandro and Danilo will play.
“In midfield I’ll decide between Dejan Kulusevksi and Federico Chiesa who is coming back from an injury. He played a few minutes against Cagliari but I don’t think he is ready to play 90 minutes.
“Federico Bernardeschi did a great game, he played well with the national team too. He can play tomorrow.”
Paulo Dybala has had a difficult time getting fit again after contracting the conronavirus earlier in the year, and looks like the odd man out in the pairing between Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata.
“Dybala is ready. He is feeling well and has been training with continuity, he did well against Cagliari, we’ll see if he starts.
“Unfortunately we never had all of them together, they only trained together for a few days. We’ve been thinking about this solution since the beginning of the season.
“We need to give a structure to the team and find balance first and then we’ll try to find a solution to make them play together.”
When asked about his relationship with Ronaldo, Pirlo insisted the superstar did not get any special treatment.
“I behave with him as I do with the others. I always try to be available, we are simple and serious people and we get along. I treat him in the same way I treat Gianluca Frabotta and Manolo Portanova who come from the Under 23s, that’s how I am, that’s what I used to do as a footballer.”