Tuesday November 12 2019
Szczesny: 'Role changed at Juventus'

Wojciech Szczesny discussed having Gigi Buffon as an understudy, his changing role at Juventus under Maurizio Sarri and Matthijs de Ligt “stealing his place” between the sticks.

The goalkeeper has started eight games in the League this term and has claimed the starting position in front of veteran Buffon.

“I admit it is very strange to have Gigi Buffon as my back-up," the Poland international told Tuttosport. “A few years ago, it would have seemed crazy to even think of such a scenario.

“But I can tell you that this experience gives me a lot of joy, because Gigi is first and foremost a friend, and then a teammate. We have a great relationship, so I am living this experience to the fullest and with the utmost pleasure.”

He joked about the many handball decisions given against the new youngster De Ligt, and said they are mocking the Dutch defender at the training ground.

“Stealing my place in the team, no,” Szczesny said. “We do joke a little about what happened, but I won’t tell you what gags I pull.”

Szczesny also admitted he needed to adapt to Maurizio Sarri’s new system and feels “more involved” in the games for Juventus this campaign.

“I feel good, let’s say I feel good,” added the shot stopper. “My role has changed a lot, yes. I must play more advanced, as the defensive line in front of me is higher up the pitch. We always try to press and keep the team high. I need to adapt and I’m more involved.”

Juventus are league leaders after 12 games, one point better off than Antonio Conte’s Inter. The goalkeeper points out that the “sacrifice” they put down during the training sessions “bear fruit” during the late stages of the matches.

“Then, sometimes you suffer more and sometimes you suffer less. But Juve is practically always a winner and we manage to find some magic even when we are struggling with the tougher situations, like the one against Milan.

“We are surely not lacking the quality. If you have players of this kind on the bench, it really means you can turn the game around at any given moment.

“But, behind all of this, there’s a lot of hard work. We sacrifice a lot during the training sessions and it allows you to have some more energy in the final minutes of the game; to find the right focus. So, quality, OK, but also the sacrifice that bears fruit in the right moments.”

Szczesny is now preparing to face Israel and Slovenia when Poland are looking to claim the top spot in Group G in the Euro 2020 qualifiers.

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