Juventus head to Fiorentina this weekend with revenge on their minds. The 3-0 setback in Turin in the last game of 2020 put a bitter taste in the Bianconeri mouth, and contributed to the demise of the Scudetto challenge this season.
Speaking ahead of the game, coach Andrea Pirlo talked about his team’s conviction with their new goal of securing a top four finish.
“I am convinced by the spirit shown by every player, because we have just one objective in our minds: qualify for the Champions League.
“We are up against a team that is fighting to avoid relegation. We suffered our first defeat of the season against Fiorentina in December, having played almost the entire match down to 10 men. We naturally have this desire to redeem ourselves against a side that has historically always been a rival to Juve.
“I expect a great game and I hope to get a great result.”
Pirlo also provided some squad news, with the biggest miss for Juve being Federico Chiesa who has not recovered yet.
“Giorgio Chiellini should be back from the first minute. Aaron Ramsey hasn’t played much because he had a few fitness issues, but this can be his opportunity.
“Adrien Rabiot has improved in every respect and he will start tomorrow. We’ll see how those who didn’t play midweek have recovered.”
Before Paulo Dybala’s injury and COVID woes, the question among fans was how he, Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata could all be deployed together.
“Dybala is doing much better and putting minutes in his legs. You could see his legs were moving better as the game wore on against Parma and he feels increasingly at ease.
“This is my first season working with Ronaldo and I have a great rapport with him. He always wants to do well and gets angry even in training session matches. He always wants to lend his support and be a positive representation for the lads.”
As can be expected, questions about the Super League will keep coming up.
“Naturally there was a lot of talk before the Parma game, primarily about the Super League, and that might’ve affected the players mentally a little bit.
“The objective remains to qualify for the Champions League and it is so important, we cannot afford to let anything else get in the way. I am convinced we’ll face this match with the right concentration.
“The atmosphere is positive, the team wants to do well and we feel almost obliged to achieve this target.”
Are there fears among club leadership about repercussions from UEFA especially with how President Aleksander Ceferin has been talking about his fallout with Juve President Andrea Agnelli.
“No, we are not afraid of that. We’re concentrated, this is our job and we are convinced that we can end the season with all our targets.”