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Pirlo wants Juventus to improve mental strength

Juventus take on high-flying Sassuolo

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

After the win over league leaders AC Milan midweek, Juventus face another difficult challenge in the form of Sassuolo who sit a point behind the Bianconeri in the Serie A table.

Speaking during his pre-match press conference, coach Andrea Pirlo is not overlooking the threat the visitors will pose.

“I expect a difficult game, as Sassuolo are a very good team who have been playing together for several years now.

“They have an excellent coach in Roberto De Zerbi, we must above all be concentrated when they have the ball, because they’re very good at escaping the opposition press.”

Among the coaches that he has been inspired by, Pirlo has looked up to De Zerbi as well as Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.

“We’ve always had some great conversations about football, but there are many young coaches out there who are doing well.”

Juve’s 3-1 win over the Rossoneri reaffirmed their credentials as title challengers despite some poor performances this season.

“Whoever is top remains the team to beat,” insisted the coach. “We’ve won for nine years in a row and clearly there is pressure on us, but Milan are the team to beat because they are the leaders.

“It was an important victory, but if we don’t win tomorrow, then it will all have been for nothing. If we don’t get a result here, then what we did at San Siro will fall into the background.

“What I do want is for us to improve our mental strength. Too many times, we score a goal and then have a few minutes after that where our heads are in the clouds. I ask for more concentration, because those are important minutes to give a sense of consistency.”

Matthijs de Ligt is the latest Juve player to test positive for COVID after Alex Sandro and Juan Cuadrado.

“Merih Demiral played a few more games than Giorgio Chiellini, so he’s more ready to step in and he should play tomorrow, but Giorgio is prepared to give us a hand.

“This is the situation not just for clubs, but for all citizens, so we keep going. This isn’t a problem.”

Alvaro Morata, despite being fit enough to train, is unlikely to play against Sassuolo though Federico Chiesa is fully fit.

“I am not surprised by Chiesa’s performances, as I knew his quality and that’s why we wanted him. He can still improve a great deal and is the prototype of a champion. His performance at San Siro should be a starting point for him.”