Juventus prepare to travel to Hellas Verona as they resume action in the Serie A, looking to close the gap with league leaders Inter Milan.
Speaking during the pre-match press conference ahead of the trip, coach Andrea Pirlo warned of the dangers posed by tomorrow’s opponents,
“It will be a very difficult and physical game. Juric plays very good football, made up of many one-on-one situations. We must be careful with their runs and play.
“They are doing well and then they have added players in the transfer market compared to the first leg. Therefore, a tough challenge awaits us. We can’t be surprised by their physical approach, knowing they play a similar style to Atalanta.
“We must be careful and know how to play for each other with quick exchanges and attack the space.”
There will be no respite for the squad with none of the currently injured players able to return for this clash.
“No one will recover, Radu Dragusin could be an option from the start. Luckily we have a player who returns like Adrien Rabiot and therefore we have an extra midfielder to rotate.
“In addition to the youngsters, we also have Rodrigo Bentancur, plus Aaron Ramsey and Weston McKennie.
“Federico Bernardeschi has many possibilities to start. He’s one of the few who is always well.”
Paulo Dybala flew to Barcelona this week to get a second opinion on his knee ailment, but it appears he will not need surgery.
“For Paulo, we evaluate the best solution to make him available as soon as possible. Dybala is not at risk for an operation. He had a consultation and now we will see what the best treatment will be.
“The recovery time of Dybala has unfortunately been prolonged and we haven’t been able to get him back.”
Pirlo indicated that fatigue was playing a role in how his side has been playing in the last few weeks.
“It depends a lot on the matches, also on the quantity of matches and unfortunately on the few players we have available.
“We have always rotated the same ones and therefore it’s normal that there’s a lack of energy. Then it also depends on the type of game.”
Dejan Kulusevski has struggled playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in attack, but Pirlo thinks the youngster is doing everything he can while Alvaro Morata returns to full fitness.
“Kulusevski is doing well. He’s learning a lot. He’s playing in a role that is not his and we ask for a different game than his characteristics and he can do it well.
“For Alvaro we will wait a few days, now he must rest until Sunday.”
With the congested schedule, Pirlo joked that he would take to the pitch if he could to help out his squad.
“I’m fine, but I can’t play. I’d gladly do it, but I cant. I’ll try to adapt to those who are there, but we’ve been going on like this for some time now and we have to do this.
“We have to make those we have perform at their best.”
Juve lost in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 game at Porto, and knows his side need to improve to reverse the result at home.
“In the Champions League, the ball goes twice as fast as in the League. They make you play completely different games.
“We have seen it and known it for years. When you get to the Champions League, you must adapt. We know we have to, and we work a lot on this aspect.”
Despite the eight points difference, Pirlo insists the Scudetto race is not over.
“We continue to talk about it, it remains our goal. We must continue with the desire to achieve it, because it’s within our reach.
“We are Juventus and we must continue to believe in it until the end.”