Reuters/ Turin, Italy
Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said his side need to show the same attitude and spirit against all teams and not just perform in the big matches ahead of the champions’ Serie A clash with Genoa today.
Juventus have fallen 12 points behind leaders Inter Milan having dropped points against lowly Torino and Benevento in recent matches and it looks increasingly unlikely they can make it 10 successive league titles this season.
Juve overcame in-form Napoli in a tough midweek clash, and Pirlo wants his side to put on the same kind of showing today against another team they are expected to beat, 13th-placed Genoa. “It is much easier to find energy for the big matches,” Pirlo told a news conference.
“Instead we must have the same attitude and spirit against the other teams like tomorrow against Genoa. The attitude and the will from the other night (against Napoli) must be equally done tomorrow.”
Argentine striker Paulo Dybala was on target for the first time since early January in the midweek win over Napoli. The 27-year-old has endured a frustrating season with injuries and has not always been first choice, leading to Dybala being linked with a move away from Turin in the Italian media.
However, Pirlo insisted the player is still very much in his thoughts. “I’ve always said Dybala is an important player and unfortunately I haven’t had him at my disposal very much this season,” Pirlo added. “Let’s look at the present, because that is more important than the future. He still has a year left on his contract, so we will have him here next season. Dybala is a player who makes the difference. I do hope to be able to use Cristiano Ronaldo, Alvaro Morata and Dybala together at some point.”
Meanwhile, Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte says he will happily sacrifice aesthetics to guide his side to the Serie A title after they went 11 points clear with a 2-1 win over Sassuolo on Wednesday.
The style of the victory surprised some, as Inter defended deep and allowed the visitors the ball at San Siro. The Nerazzurri’s 30% possession rate was their lowest in a league match since Opta began recording data in 2004/05, but Conte was unapologetic about his tactics.
“We played well against Real Madrid in the Champions League and had some great games, but the final result was that we went out of the competition while playing well, which did not interest anyone,” he said. “Today we did not disregard aesthetics, but we adapted to the situation because our objective is so important that aesthetics come second.”
Inter are eight points ahead of second-placed AC Milan and 12 ahead of Juve, who have been the dominant force in Italian football for the last nine years. Conte led the Turin club to the first three titles of their nine-year run, before taking over the Inter job in 2019 with the aim of shifting the balance of power back to Milan.
“To think that in two years we have made up so many points on the dominant force of the league for the last nine years, I could not have imagined it in my wildest dreams,” he said. “It does not mean we are better than Juve, who have a very strong team. We rolled up our sleeves and started to work in an important way towards an objective, to be credible."
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