With just 24 hours to go until Juve’s Champions League match against Atletico, we round up the press conferences, player quotes and squad lists ahead of tomorrows game.
Max Allegri gave his pre-match press conference earlier today and talked about the Atletico squad, Juve’s progress to the last 16 and exactly what is at stake for the Bianconeri.
“I don’t envy Atletico Madrid, Fortunately I am Juventus Coach, so I’m training a team which is not only made up of good players, but lads with the right mentality. I think that’s the main asset this team has, because otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to win three Serie A titles in a row, the [two] Super Cups and be leading the League again this season and be on the verge of qualifying for the next round of the Champions League.”
“It’s hard to say if we’re stronger than them or less strong, we’re two very good teams, and this year we have the opportunity to make it to the knockout stages and try to have a good Champions League campaign. I have a strong team, which is capable of playing in these kind of matches as we demonstrated in the first five group games. Even though we lost in Madrid and Athens I think that was undeserved. We were a bit too cautious in Madrid, and in Athens we didn’t score, but the team has always given consistent performances.”
“Tomorrow we’re at home, we have the fans on our side, and we are in good condition. We’re facing a team that has won 10 out of their last 11 games so we know it will be a very difficult game. For Juventus to improve upon what we did last season, we must qualify for the Last 16. It’s our number one goal. The League is a different thing, because it will be decided at the end of May, so at the moment qualification is our main target, and tomorrow we have a chance to hit it.”
“Last year [with Milan] was a different situation, because it was a Last 16 game, so it was in-or-out. This year it’s a game where we’re playing for first place [in the group], and they’re trying to defend first place. We’re playing both for top spot and for qualification, while they only have to think about defending first place. So it’s definitely a different game from last year, not least because of the situation.”
“As far as the game goes, the objective for tomorrow is qualifying for the Last 16. Of course we must do everything we can to try and win it, though winning with a two-goal differential won’t be easy because they are a team that doesn’t allow for many goal-scoring chances. They are also very strong on free-kicks.”
“I don’t even think about the Europa League, I don’t take it into consideration.”
“I think they are two excellent teams. Atletico have achieved some great, outstanding results. Let us not forget that they won La Liga and they lost a final [the Champions League] that they were on the verge of taking away. I think Juventus are a team that is doing – and has done – some great things in the Italian League. The club has played several Champions League Finals. It falls within the norm that Juventus should now return to the Last 16, and it’s very important.”
“Tomorrow’s game is going to be different, we will play at home, we’ll have all of our supporters behind us until the end. I am certain that they’ll give us a substantial push. Besides, it’s such an important game that we’ll come into it with great desire, great enthusiasm and especially a great strength to try and win it. Of course, we might still come second even if we win.”
“I still haven’t decided who’s going to play tomorrow. One of the two will certainly play. I will choose tomorrow morning.”
“As for the other players, I don’t like to talk about turnover. I think this team has an important squad that lets me change things according to the game and the moment. Not to mention that we play once every three days and thinking of covering the whole season with 11 players is practically impossible if you want to keep up a certain intensity. In the end you risk paying the price for it. Besides I think that the individual qualities of these players are important, so when two or three players are changed the team shouldn’t suffer any kind of trauma. On the contrary, the team must stay the same from technical and tactical point of view.”
Juventus squad for Atletico Madrid: Buffon, Storari, Rubinho, Chiellini, Ogbonna, Bonucci, Lichsteiner, Evra, Mattiello, Pogba, Pepe, Marchisio, Padoin, Pirlo, Vidal, Pereyra, Morata, Tevez, Giovinco, Llorente.
Note – Kingsley Coman misses out after complaining of muscular pain following Friday’s game against Fiorentina.
Atleti coach Diego Simeone called Juve – Atletico a ‘ game unlike any other’ while highlighting how Andrea Pirlo might cause them problems.
“Tomorrow is a very important match,” Simeone declared in his Press conference.
“We’re playing against a massive club, which has great players and it will be a game unlike any other. Tomorrow is also very important to see who finishes first, who finishes second and also to see who will get through the group, because if Juventus lose they may not get through.”
When asked about facing Andrea Pirlo who was absent from the game in Madid, the coach was quick to warn of the dangers he might pose.
“Firstly, he’s a fantastic player. We should pay him a lot of attention because he’s a player with great mental speed.
“He’s also brilliant on free kicks and we will watch him very carefully.”
“I think my time at Catania was the most important of my career,” Simeone reflected.
“I think in the Italian league teams don’t always play the same way, in a game if Coaches see something wrong they’ll change the system they’re playing.In Spain we change the systems less, with the players being prepared for maybe on or two systems. Here in Italy it’s more difficult for Coaches, and there’s definitely a lot of Italian football in me.”
Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke praised Juve’s midfield strength and the chance to play at the Juve stadium.
“It’s always nice to play in a stadium like this, for the atmosphere, It’s always nice to play in Europe and we hope it will be a good day tomorrow.
“Their midfield? They are very strong, we saw that already at [Atletico’s stadium] the Calderon, even though they were without [Andrea] Pirlo who is a great player.
“I think it will be a great game and a fierce battle tomorrow night.”
Atletico Madrid squad for Juventus: Moyá, Oblak, Juanfran, Gámez, Giménez, Godín, Lucas, Siqueira, Gabi, Tiago, Saúl, Mario Suárez, Koke, Cristian Rodríguez, Arda, Cerci, Raúl García, Griezmann, Raúl Jiménez, Mandzukic