NEWS
Tuesday February 25 2020
Bonucci: 'Juve are favourites'

Leonardo Bonucci admitted that Juventus are "favourites” against Olympique Lyonnais and has claimed the competition in Serie A will spur them on in Europe.

The Bianconeri are currently preparing for their first leg in the round of 16 in the Champions League and Bonucci has asked his team to bring back some goals from the first leg at the Groupama Stadium.

“It’s true that we are favourites, but the matches are won on the pitch,” Bonucci told L’Equipe. “It would be convenient for us to score in Lyon ahead of the return leg, but we will have to prepare for the match with clarity.

“Lyon have a lot of fans and many young players who will try to show their value.”

The defender knows the opposition’s coach from his time at Roma and said that Rudi Garcia has the experience to help his team against the Old Lady.

“Garcia used to be a coach in Italy, he knows how to approach certain games,” he said. “The Champions League is special; the mentality matters a lot. We must be careful.

Success in the Champions League has been high on Juventus’ list of priorities in recent years and the 32-year-old was asked about his thoughts on their season’s as runners-up to Barcelona in 2015 and Real Madrid in 2017.

“We have regret,” he said. “The Final against Barca we thought we had won after Morata’s goal, while against Real, we underestimated the opponent in the second half.

“The competition from Lazio and Inter in the League will help us not to give up even in the Champions League.”

Maurizio Sarri returned to Italy after winning the Europa League with Chelsea in his only season abroad and Bonucci claimed he “understands” why Juventus picked the former Napoli tactician.

“Sarri is very intelligent, both as a person and in footballing terms,” he said about the coach. “When he talks to us, we understand why he came to the Bianconeri. He knows how to improve the teams he works with.

“A new way of seeing football has arrived with him. In defence, for example, we play zonal marking. It’s complicated, but I’ve never been afraid of things that are difficult.

The Italy international concluded by supporting his new teammate Matthijs de Ligt and said he will become “one of the best” with time, whilst he admitted that everybody learns from their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Ronaldo has a fantastic technique and consistency. He is a war machine. Since he came here, we have all taken from him to improve.

“De Ligt is young and talented, he will have time to become one of the best in the world.”