Juventus take on Dynamo Kyiv tomorrow in Turin in Matchday 5 of Champions League group action with passage into the knockout rounds already secured. Speaking ahead of the game during his pre-match press conference, coach Andrea Pirlo insisted that he wasn’t being too harsh in his comments after the draw at Benevento over the weekend.
“I don’t think I said such strong words in Benevento. You need to have more desire to achieve the result and manage the moments of the match in a better way.
“I don’t think I was hard, it’s just a fact. Tomorrow we will think about putting the best players on the pitch, because all the games are important. However, Cuadrado and Danilo could rest, they have played a lot.
“I’m absolutely not worried. In Benevento, it was a game to win, we weren’t good at closing the match and then they finished well. But it can happen, we analysed the game, and we will try to improve and learn from the mistakes we have made.”
There’s been plenty of talk about the honeymoon now being over for Pirlo, but the coach is not fazed by his detractors.
“I like the criticism, it just means that I annoy someone, and I have been used to this for many years.
“This match will be important for our growth. We need to play a good game and improve. We need to get the continuity that we lack.”
Paulo Dybala and Dejan Kulusevski are two talented players that seem to have fallen out of favor with Pirlo. Is there more than meets the eye with their performances?
“Kulusevski has always played in the same position. All the young players who arrived at Juventus have followed the same path and I’m happy with what they’re bringing.
“Dybala often drops deep to be more involved and get more space. We always work together on the spaces that he must occupy.
“He must play easy and be in a position to be prepared for the attacking phase.”
Juve’s defensive injury woes don’t seem to have an end in sight with the return of club captain Giorgio Chiellini now postponed again after another issue. Pirlo confirmed that Dybala would not be in the starting lineup while he remains undecided about Kulusevski.
“Chiellini has a problem in the other thigh, we will evaluate it tomorrow. We will rotate anyway. Cuadrado and Danilo will rest.
“Dybala will start on the bench because Alvaro Morata will be suspended for the Derby.
“[On Kulusevski] It depends on the others and how they have recovered. He’s an important player who needs to develop, he’s on a path. He will play many games and he must find continuity.”
UEFA Match official Stephanie Frappart will make history tomorrow as the first female referee to handle a men’s Champions League match.
“We will be refereed by a good match official; something we have seen that in the past. We are happy to experience her and that there’s no difference between men and women.”