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Pirlo says players struggling to recover with tight schedule

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Coach’s comments ahead of Juve trip to Benevento tomorrow

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

Juventus return to Serie A action this weekend after sealing qualification to the latter stages of the Champions League with a hardfought 2-1 win over Ferencvaros midweek.

Speaking to the media in his pre-match press conference, coach Andrea Pirlo started of by mentioning some fond memories of legendary footballer Diego Maradona who passed away this week. Serie A is planning a 10th minute tribute during all of this weekend’s games to remember the player.

“He was the idol of all of us kids who wanted to play football. I remember the first World Cups I saw, and the one in 1986 when he won with Argentina.

“I used to go to the garden and try to score the goal he scored against England, tried to dribble all the men.

“It’s an indelible memory of a unique player who will remain in the history of football forever. I had the good fortune to meet him a few times, I also have a photo-souvenir and I’m happy to have it in my album.”

Opponents Benevento are managed by Pirlo’s former teammate Filippo Inzaghi, with the Juve coach saying Pippo is ‘crazy about football’.

“It will be a difficult match tomorrow. Benevento are a tough team, but we are prepared.

“Inzaghi immediately questioned himself. He left Milan to restart in Serie C. He’s crazy about football, he will certainly arrive.

“Many matches will be tight this year, also because the players are struggling to recover given the short time between one match and the other.”

Forward Cristiano Ronaldo is not in the traveling party with Pirlo looking to manage his minutes and keep him fresh. However, it does look like Leonardo Bonucci will be fit to play, giving the coach some relief in his beleaguered backline.

“Cristiano Ronaldo will take an agreed rest session because he was a bit tired after so many games. It was planned that he would not come to Benevento.”