Gigi Del Neri has been Coach of both Chievo and Juventus, so has a special view of tonight’s game. “Nothing is impossible.” Click here for a match preview.
The tactician was a hero at the Bentegodi from 2000-04 and again in 2006-07, but his spell at Juve lasted only one disappointing campaign in 2010-11.
“Which of the two teams would I support? Chievo. I spent my best years there, so that Chievo side remains a unique masterpiece. Juve were also a wonderful story, but it lasted only a year. The situations and state of mind were different.
“As for the game, Juve are Juve, but Chievo know that nothing is impossible,” he told L’Arena.
“My story with Juve ended badly and too quickly, but in these cases it’s too easy to just throw the baby out with the bathwater. There were good things too.
“This is football take it or leave it. The sport gives you a great deal and it was an extraordinary opportunity for me to lead Juventus, when I feared a top club was never going to happen for me. How can you say no?”
It was a disastrous spell in Turin, as the Bianconeri finished seventh in Serie A and failed to qualify for Europe.
“When you work in certain environments, you have to take everything into account, from training world class players to understanding the supporters and media mood. I know that it was all going so well in January, as we were up there and challenging. Some people bet I’d be there for a long time.
“Then the tide turned. Fabio Quagliarella got injured and he was crucial for us. We dropped a few points, lost some certainties and it took us a moment to end up in the eye of the storm.
“I am consistent and will say something to your face, which is what players appreciate. I don’t lie to the players.
“In hindsight perhaps I should’ve stayed at Sampdoria, but I do not renege my Juventus experience.”
Before that Turin spell, Del Neri was at the helm of the ‘Miracle Chievo’ who surprised everyone in their debut Serie A campaign in 2001-02 by finishing fifth.
When the Flying Donkeys went to face Juventus in Week 3 of that first season, they were joint leaders and 2-0 up before the Old Lady fought back to win 3-2.
“That time we risked victory in Turin... If they hadn’t stopped us, we might’ve been able to win the Scudetto. We notched up 25 points in the first half of the season and that was an 18-team League, so...”
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