On Sunday afternoon, Andrea Pirlo will be hoping to avenge the first league victory of his young managerial career.
Juventus were brushed aside at home by their rivals Fiorentina last December, as it ended 3-0 in favor of the Tuscans – with the Old Lady playing with a man down for almost the entire match following Juan Cuadrado’s dismissal.
The Italian coach will be hoping for a much better result this time around, and has emphasized on the importance of this match during his pre-match press conference on Saturday.
Pirlo assured that the club’s main objective is to qualify for next season’s edition of the Champions League, and once again had to avoid answering questions regarding the rise and fall of the controversial European Super League.
“I am convinced by the spirit shown by every player, because we have just one objective in our minds: qualify for the Champions League,” said Pirlo in his press conference as translated by Football Italia.
“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.”
The manager confirmed that Federico Chiesa is still out after suffering a knock against Atalanta last weekend, but Giorgio Chiellini is expected to return to the starting lineup.
“Adrien Rabiot has improved in every respect and he will start tomorrow. We’ll see how those who didn’t play midweek have recovered.
“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,” continued Pirlo.
“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 Inevitably, much of the debate has been around the failed Super League coup, although Juventus, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Milan have not formally withdrawn.
“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,” continued Pirlo.
“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.”
Pirlo was asked if the club is worried about being thrown out of the Champions League as a punishment for their role in the ESL project.
“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.”