Thursday July 2 2020
De Ligt: 'In a much better place'

Matthijs de Ligt says he is now in ‘a much better place mentally’ and that Juventus are in a three-horse race for the Scudetto with Lazio and Inter.

De Ligt was criticised for his early performances in a Juve shirt, but the defender has gone on to more than hold his own alongside Leonardo Bonucci in Giorgio Chiellini’s absence.

“I feel much better physically, but mentally I’m in a much better place and this is crucial for things to go well,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“Here in Serie A, there are many different and prepared strikers. There’s Lukaku, for example, who’s very strong and quick but also Immobile, who’s instead very good with his back to goal.

“Every team have great forwards, different from one another, and every match is very difficult. The bar is very high.

“I try to study them thoroughly before each game in order to be prepared for any outcome.”

Juve lead Lazio by four points and Inter eight points going into the final nine games of the season, but the Dutchman still considers the Nerazzurri title rivals.

“Lazio and Inter are both still in the running. The Nerazzurri are a great team and are currently only a few points behind.

“We have to be very careful with these teams, there are still nine games to play and each one will be a Final from here until Week 38. We mustn’t slow down now.”

Next up for the Old Lady is the Derby della Mole with Torino, and the 20-year-old has fond memories of facing the Granata.

“It’s a special game, both teams want to win for the city and their fans. We must do our best, above all in defence, and not give away any chances.

“Obviously the first derby is a beautiful memory for me because I scored my first goal for the Bianconeri. It also gave us a very important victory.

“It wasn’t an easy time for me, I received a lot of criticism and I was under pressure. That goal raised my spirits and made me and my teammates happy.

“Thanks to that goal, I became the footballer I am today.”

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