Maurizio Sarri wants Juventus to “enjoy our football” against Atletico Madrid. “There are 10-12 Champions League teams with the same resources as us.”
It kicks off on Wednesday at the Wanda Metropolitano at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).
“Miralem Pjanic is available, he trained regularly with the group today and we’ll see if he starts or not,” said the Coach in a Press conference.
Juve won the last eight Serie A titles in a row, but see the Champions League as something of an obsession.
“We don’t feel this pressure. We are Juventus, every time we step on to the pitch, the objective is to win, but we also know full well there are 10-12 other teams who feel the same way and have the same resources as we do.
“At this moment, I don’t see Italian football as the favourites going into the Champions League, as over the last 20 years we’ve lost ground. The fault for that goes to everyone, from Presidents to journalists, everything that surrounds the sport.
“I think we need to face this competition with exceptional determination, but also a relaxed mind. We’ve got to get back to enjoying our football, without this illogical phobia.
“Atletico Madrid are one of the teams who can win the Champions League. It’s difficult to fight against the Premier League sides, as they have so much money in the sport.
“Atletico lost an extraordinary player in Antoine Griezmann, but brought in one just as extraordinary in Joao Felix. Saul Niguez has made huge leaps forward and I consider him one of the best in Europe right now.
“Atleti have the players to beat anyone, but unfortunately at this level, you need mental strength, technique, tactics AND a bit of luck.”
Sarri won the Europa League at Chelsea last season, the first piece of silverware in his entire career.
“I think football is the same everywhere you go, ultimately, even if elsewhere in Europe they probably don’t see conceding a goal as a drama to be carried on throughout the week. Our football remains extremely difficult to play in, even if having spent a year abroad, I realised just how high the level of Italian coaching really is. Those differences in terms of tactics are starting to level out a bit, though.”
Sarri was asked what he thought when Inter Coach Antonio Conte said this week that the Juve boss is now “on the side with power”?
“I didn’t think anything, because I was celebrating my wife’s birthday in peace. I think Conte was told something that wasn’t entirely true. When I commented on the heat and time of our game with Fiorentina, it was about us, not any other teams. I never referred to the others.”
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