Juventus take on Genoa tomorrow in the Coppa Italia on a short rest for both sides, and coach Andrea Pirlo confirmed that he has no intention of taking the competition lightly.
“It’s an important match, the start of a new competition for us.
“At the start, people act as if the Coppa Italia is of no interest, but once they get to the end, everyone enjoys it. In order to get there, we have to win tomorrow evening.”
The Bianconeri had dismissed Genoa 3-1 earlier in the league, but Davide Ballardini is now back in charge after Rolando Maran was relieved of his duties.
“We saw a few games, the intensity of Genoa changed after Ballardini took over from Maran, they are more of an attacking team, show more energy. It’s going to be a very difficult match to play, hard-fought, and we want to win.
“I don’t think the overall approach will have changed much, though, so they’ll try to defend, probably with five men at the back, trying to go on the counter. We have studied Genoa and are preparing well.”
Pirlo has a much smaller pool of players to choose from while Alex Sandro, Matthijs de Ligt and Juan Cuadrado remain out due to COVID, Paulo Dybala is out for about two-three weeks with a knee injury and both Weston McKennie and Federico Chiesa are doubtful after an eventful win over Sassuolo over the weekend.
“We are evaluating who is in good shape and the injured players who won’t be able to participate. I can say Giorgio Chiellini will return, as he’s been training with us for a while now, and Gigi Buffon will start in goal.”
The coach was asked if he felt his side had responded appropriately in 2021 following their first league defeat of the season in their last game of last year.
“That game was the bolt from the blue, but it can happen when we play this many games in quick succession. We came together after that and showed above all mental strength, determination and the desire to bring home the result at all costs.
“We rediscovered concentration rather than those ups and downs during a match. We clarified what our objectives were and tried to focus only on ourselves.”