Juventus have a difficult challenge this weekend when they host AS Roma who have been revitalized this season. The Giallorossi and Bianconeri fought some pitched battles for the Scudetto a few years ago, but the side now coached by Paulo Fonseca sits in third place in the table, a point ahead of Juve having played a game more.
Speaking during the pre-match press conference, Andrea Pirlo had nothing but praise for the team from the capital.
“It will be a match against a team that, in my opinion, plays some of the best football in Italy.
“They have great players, and we will have to be focused on the counters. We have to make few mistakes [as possible].”
Paulo Dybala is not ready to return yet, and Aaron Ramsey’s latest injury means he is not in the squad either.
“Dybala is still out, Ramsey did something with us, but they are not available.”
Juventus’ recent loss to Inter Milan appears to have been a turning point for Pirlo’s side.
“We have improved a lot mentally. The defeat at San Siro surely helped us to understand that we always need to be focused.
“We are improving on all aspects. Unfortunately, we have little time to train, but by making some more videos, we could perhaps catch something.
“No statement. We have to look at us, we are charged with adrenaline by every win and the ambition of wanting to win is fundamental. We discovered it after the defeats to Fiorentina and Inter.”
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Pirlo also reserved some words of praise for Cristiano Ronaldo who marks his 36th birthday today.
“I knew about the professional, but seeing him train every day was a surprise. He still has great passion, he has fun.
“If you still have this desire, it means you are a hero. He has it, like Buffon, Chiellini, Bonucci…”
Juventus twice had to come from behind to draw 2-2 against a pacy Roma side in the second game of the season, with Juve forced to play the last half hour with ten men after Adrien Rabiot was sent off.
“We’re at 70 to 80 per cent, finally we have almost everyone available and I can also rotate in defence. This is a very important step.
“In the first leg, for example, I didn’t have Alex Sandro and I had to use [Juan] Cuadrado on the left. It didn’t go very well, but not knowing them, I had to try.”
Striker Edin Dzeko is back in the squad after Roma failed to get a transfer for him in January, but Pirlo insisted he wouldn’t change his gameplan for him.
“Nothing, if he doesn’t play Dzeko, he will play Mayoral. He is doing very well. Dzeko is a great player, but Roma play well with both of them.
“The [defensive] pairs are not predetermined, I have no problem putting them together. They are four players of the highest level, who can all play together.”