Antonio Conte will pick the most appropriate team to face Bologna, has updated on Stephan Lichtsteiner and brushed off contract renewal speculation.
The Bianconeri travel out to Emilia-Romagna this Friday evening for Week 15’s opening fixture, ahead of next Tuesday’s crunch Champions League group stage clash with Galatasaray, where a result is needed to earn progression to the Last 16 of the competition.
At today’s pre-match Press conference, it was put to Juve’s Coach that the need in Istanbul may override team selection and focus for tomorrow evening.
“It is inevitable that the match against Bologna will be a difficult game, against a team that is definitely in a good state of health, they are doing well, so we expect a tough game, hard,” countered Conte to reporters.
“So we will go into it with a clear head, just thinking about the match against Bologna. We have always thought this way, so we must not change.
“Having said that, I will try to select those that I consider most suitable and right at this particular moment, always with one goal - to be able to face the opponent with the best possible team and win the game.”
The Coach was asked if this meant Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez ceding their places in attack to Fabio Quagliarella and Mirko Vucinic.
“Let’s see. I’m not here to tell you the formation, so I will make my decisions and you will see them tomorrow.
“The choices will be dictated by the physical condition of the players, from my mind, from what I have in my head, especially as we are facing, with many games ahead of us, the fact that we have already played in the last seven days.”
After almost two months out, Stephan Lichtsteiner returned to action last weekend against Udinese, so Conte was asked if the Swiss full-back is in line for a start any time soon.
“Lichtsteiner, as I said in the conference before Udinese, is a player who is recovering, he is looking for his best condition and through specific training he has been doing well in recent days.
“We are trying to bring him up to the best possible condition, so that when he plays he can maintain 95 minutes with no problem.
“He is training, having game-time, as he did against Udinese. We are trying to get him up to the best condition and I am sure that in no time he will be available to play from the start.”
Conte was reminded of Arturo Vidal’s contract renewal this week and expected work from the Bianconeri to try to renew Paul Pogba and Andrea Pirlo’s contracts. The Coach was prompted for comment on his own possible contract renegotiation.
“I believe that this, honestly, is not an important issue, neither for me nor for Juventus. We are so focused on a particular moment of the season, when we have to get a result in Istanbul, where in my opinion we have to give it everything in order to get second place [in the group].
“I am happy for the guys that are renewing their contracts, because they have deserved it, it is recognition, but for the rest, I repeat, we are so focused, it is an important moment and we remain focused on this.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!