Saturday October 3 2020
Pirlo: 'Different Juventus with Napoli'

Andrea Pirlo promises changes to the Juventus line-up against Napoli, with Arthur Melo and Paulo Dybala, while he prepares a prank on Gennaro Gattuso.

It kicks off on Sunday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT), click here for a match preview.

There are concerns in the build-up to the game, as Napoli have already registered one positive COVID test for Piotr Zielinski after they played Genoa, who have 22 cases between players and staff.

“I don’t think there any risk of the game not going ahead, as the Lega Serie A statement gave some pretty clear guidelines. We prepared the way we do for any other match and the situation has not influenced us,” assured the coach in his press conference.

It will be a reunion with Pirlo’s former Milan and Italy teammate Rino Gattuso, now opponents in the dugout for the first time.

“I believe Napoli had a change of mentality with Gattuso’s arrival, they are a strong and cohesive team now. However, we’re equal to them and know what we need to do.

“We didn’t have pre-season friendlies to experiment, so we had to do our tests during the competitive match situations. We tried something against Roma and might try something else with Napoli.

“We didn’t interpret the spaces well when going forward in the Roma game. Having said that, I don’t think Alvaro Morata did as badly as some claimed. He didn’t have time to settle in and is a functional player, which is why we signed him.”

Gattuso famously said Pirlo was ‘in trouble’ (with a more colourful phrase than that) now that he had taken the Juventus job and become a coach.

“I happily embraced the problems of this wonderful line of work, otherwise I wouldn’t have chosen to do it. My best prank against Rino? That would be winning tomorrow night.”

Adrien Rabiot is suspended following his red card in the 2-2 draw with Roma, while Alex Sandro, Federico Bernardeschi and Matthijs de Ligt are still injured.

“There is the possibility that Arthur will start as part of the squad rotation in midfield. We could see Juan Cuadrado or Gianluca Frabotta on the left, as they are the only two potential starters in that role.

“Paulo Dybala hasn’t played in two months, but was ready to come off the bench against Roma after a period of training. We’ll see if he plays from the start tomorrow or in the second half.”

The transfer deadline is on Monday evening and there are growing reports Federico Chiesa will arrive from Fiorentina, with Douglas Costa, Mattia De Sciglio and Sami Khedira on their way out.

“They are training the same as the others and are ready to play,” insisted Pirlo.

“We are talking with the club, Fabio Paratici is taking care of it and we’ll see if someone arrives by Monday night.”