Juventus will travel tomorrow — if the Turin ASL permits, that is — to take on AC Milan who sit pretty on the top of the Serie A table ten points ahead of the Bianconeri, though they have played one more game too.
Coach Andrea Pirlo, who has donned the colors of both sides, said today that the title race is still open, and the result of this game would not decide who won the Scudetto with so many games left go.
“We are working for that, we started 2021 with a win and a positive attitude. We take one game at a time, then we will evaluate the table in a couple of months
“It’s certainly an important match, but not a decisive one. Playing Milan-Juventus is always fascinating.
“It was as a player and it will be as a coach. We will play the game to do our best, it will be important but not decisive.”
How does he feel playing against a team that he was at for such a long time?
“Milan are a team where I have played a lot and won a lot. For me it’s an important game, even if the club has changed a lot, seeing that there’s only [Paolo] Maldini left who I know.
“It will still be wonderful, also because it’s the first time I have faced them as a coach.”
Despite being ill yesterday, Paulo Dybala should return to the squad.
“Yesterday, Paulo had developed a fever but today he was better, he will be part of the match barring unforeseen events.”
Fullbacks Alex Sandro and Juan Cuadrado have tested positive for COVID, but Adrien Rabiot will be back after serving his suspension and fellow midfielder Arthur is fit again too.
“Rabiot has finally returned from the suspension, Arthur has also recovered and is doing much better.
“The blow against Atalanta kept him out for a while. The other night he did a few minutes and now he will be available.
“We will evaluate who will be there tomorrow, also looking at the analysis of the COVID swabs.”
Milan are in good form and Pirlo will be wary of the threat they pose.
“We have to be careful, they are very good at winning the ball back and attacking quickly. We have seen that in the videos. They arrive at goal with two or three passes, we must be technically good and pay attention to the counter attacks.
“From the beginning we tried to exploit Cristiano Ronaldo for his characteristics, we wanted to bring him to be decisive in the last metres. He was decisive everywhere, it’s normal when you have a champion like him, that you depend on him.
“But we are happy as well. [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic is also fundamental for them, because he changes the way they play, but they have exploited the characteristics of the others in his absence.
“Milan don’t lose many games, so they certainly have something good: they are the team to beat. We will try to go to San Siro to impose our game.”
Alvaro Morata picked up an injury just before the Udinese game and it’s not clear if he will be back for Sassuolo over the weekend, but Pirlo did say Giorgio Chiellini and Merih Demiral are almost fully fit again.
“He [Morata] is recovering and doing physiotherapy, we will evaluate in the next few days but we don’t know how many days he will be out. Let’s talk to the doctors and see when they say he can return.
“[Chiellini and Demiral] have recovered, they are quite well. Maybe they don’t have the pace to play 90 minutes, but they could play in case of emergency.”