Saturday February 17 2018
Mazzarri: 'Turin Derby is special'

Walter Mazzarri is wary of the balance between firing Torino up for the Derby della Mole with Juventus and “creating excessive tension.”

It kicks off on Sunday at 11.30 GMT, click here for a match preview.

“We prepared for this game in calm fashion, as we always do,” assured the Coach in his Press conference.

“I usually talk only of the team and not individuals, but I’ll make an exception for Iago Falque, as he always plays for the squad and is fundamental for the future too.

“Juve have won nine of their last 10 Serie A matches and drawn the other, conceding only one goal, so that says a lot about the difficulties we’ll run into here. They never give up and are always hungry for the result.

“Having said all that, I have to focus on my own team, give them reassurance and make them feel like the best side in the world. It’s the only way to do well, being perfect throughout the week in training with fundamental psychological preparation.

“We have to win the individual duels. Tactically, we are both well-drilled, so at times we’ll try to press them hard, at others we’ll soak up pressure. Then there is always the imponderable element, the incident that can change a game.”

It’s a battle between hitmen Andrea Belotti and Gonzalo Higuain, though Il Gallo is only just finding his feet again after an injury.

“Belotti has great talent, otherwise he wouldn’t have already scored 26 goals. He mustn’t set limits on himself and can aim for everything. He had some physical problems this season, but is a great professional and can reach even higher levels.

“You could tell from the day I arrived that this fixture was special. Tomorrow I’ll tell you how my first Derby della Mole felt. I must give positive input to my players, not give the opponents the advantage by creating excessive tension or emotion.

“We prepared everything, including changing the training sessions and meals to be ready for the early kick-off.”

It’s the Turin Derby, but also a Tuscan one, as both Mazzarri and Max Allegri are from Livorno.

“Allegri’s results speak for themselves. At the end of the day, the results are what matter. There is mutual respect and admiration.”

If Mazzarri were to stall Juve’s progress, he’d become a hero all over again to Napoli fans by influencing the Scudetto race.

“I am focused only on Toro, despite the four wonderful years spent in Naples.”

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