Friday December 6 2019
Sarri: 'Lazio possible contenders'

Maurizio Sarri warns Juventus will be facing potential Scudetto contenders in Lazio on Saturday as he expects a hard-fought battle at the Olimpico.

Juve take on a Lazio side third in Serie A this weekend, and Sarri believes the Aquile have a chance to play their way into the title race after a strong run of domestic form.

“At this moment they give us this feeling of a strong team,” he said at a press conference.

“They have picked up 18 points from their last six games. They are on a very good run of form.

“They’re a strong team with great quality. They’re the best team for picking out passes in the last 25 metres, even in Europe.

“We need this data for our own adjustments, they’re tough opponents. It will be a difficult game.”

Despie that, the coach is tipping the Old Lady to bounce back from their 2-2 draw with Sassuolo last weekend.

“After watching the training sessions, I am confident. Anyway, we must respond on the pitch. All the points are important, so all the games are important.

“I understand from a journalistic point of view that some matches will be emphasised, but I repeat; all games are important. Points are crucial.”

The 60-year-old said he was hoping his side would gain some extra “motivation” by trailing Inter in the table.

If the Nerazzurri win their match against Roma on Friday, they will provisionally extend their lead at the top to four points.

“I hope so. We might be stimulated by having a team ahead of us. It could be a source of great motivation."

Sami Khedira and Aaron Ramsey are out of the trip to Rome with injury, while Federico Bernardeschi has faced criticism for his performances this season...

“I’m not happy, but there are periods during the season where this situation might occur. But [Adrien] Rabiot is fine, he has been training with the team and has recovered.

“I expect a violent approach from them, they're on a positive run. We will have to hold on, then grab the game with our hands and keep away from our own penalty area.

“Bernardeschi is a sensitive guy, and this is evident when we play away from home. His performances are different when he is in a safe environment at home.

“He is an important player; he doesn’t need to be influenced by anything or anyone. My task is to accompany him, rather than to test him.

“We will try to play Bernardeschi, while counting on Douglas Costa’s recovery. Without Douglas Costa, it’s difficult to play with a trio.

Khedira will be out for some time after undergoing knee surgery, so could Emre Can capitalise?

“He [Emre Can] has made some appearances; he is not an excluded player. He is just out of the list registered for the Champions League. But that was a tough blow for him mentally.

“He knows he will be considered in the League, if he performs.

“Khedira has a great personality, his knee was getting worse over the last 10 days and we couldn’t do anything but operate on it. Now we must help the others improve."

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