Juventus take on Porto in their Champions League Round of 16 second leg clash in Turin behind 2-1 in aggregate on Tuesday. The Italian champions were stunned by the Portuguese side twice at the beginning of each half last time around and Andrea Pirlo warned his side to be prepared to face a disciplined opponent.
“We need a very technical game. We face a compact team, that play with two tight lines.
“There will be little time and space to think. We’ll need a lot of technique, we must have the patience to make them run from one part to another.”
Defender Matthijs de Ligt trained with Juve on Monday but will be out for the game unfortunately.
“Everyone is feeling quite well. De Ligt warmed up with the team this morning but trained separately from the group. The others are all available, not 100 per cent fit, but it’s already a good thing to have them.
“Giorgio Chiellini is feeling well, I think he will be available tomorrow. Arthur could start, hoping he is going to last for a while.
“Weston McKennie is feeling fine. He still has a little problem [at his hip]. We know he can’t play the whole game and we’ve been trying to manage him in the best way.”
Striker Alvaro Morata started over the weekend and once again made his impact felt as focal point up top.
“Morata keeps improving because he is ambitious and intelligent. He always tries to find the best solutions, he likes to study his opponents and that’s a very good thing for a player like him.”
Cristiano Ronaldo should be refreshed after sitting on the bench for most of the win over Lazio.
“These are Cristiano’s games, he’s always proved it. He followed a special training program these days, he is serene and is looking forward to playing.”
Federico Bernardeschi had a very good game at left-back, is this something to watch out for again?
“I spoke to Bernardeschi this summer. I met him on holiday and I told him I was thinking to let him play as a left-back, which is a role that suits him and his qualities.
“He said he was available to do it, but we didn’t have much time to try him in training. Now he is convinced he can do it and we are going to continue. He can start the game tomorrow, but others can do it too.”
Pirlo’s immediate predecessors Massimiliano Allegri and Maurizio Sarri failed at this stage in recent season and were subsequently relieved of their duties, was Pirlo feeling the pressure?
“If I thought so, I wouldn’t be here. I know it’s an important game, but I focus on one game at a time. The club will decide my future, depending on the results.
“I work day by day, I know my project and the club’s project. This game is like a final for us. We need to turn the tie around. It’s an open result and we must be clear-minded.”
What had he and his side learned from their missteps in the first leg?
“We watched the first leg many times. We had planned to play differently. We made a mistake at the beginning of the game, and the match changed.
“We’ll try to learn from the mistakes we made two weeks ago. We are studying Porto, we know they can use different systems.
“We know we can qualify for the next stage, without underestimating Porto’s quality. We must think we can qualify for the quarter-finals.”