NEWS
Saturday October 24 2020
Pirlo: 'Dybala starts, Morata no surprise'

Andrea Pirlo confirms Paulo Dybala will start for Juventus against Hellas Verona tomorrow and he’s not surprised by Alvaro Morata. ‘That’s why we signed him.’

It kicks off on Sunday at 19.45 GMT, click here for a match preview.

“We had time to rest after the trip to Dynamo Kiev, so apart from Giorgio Chiellini, everyone else is available,” said Pirlo in his press conference.

“As of last night, I had no news on Cristiano Ronaldo’s COVID status. We all had swabs this morning, including Ronaldo at home. Alex Sandro is on his way towards a full recovery, but I think it’ll be after the break for international duty.

“I can confirm Dybala will start tomorrow. He had the right progress in training and it’s only fair now that he starts the match. I always said it was an issue of time, as he had the injury, then a virus on international duty. The two times he was on the bench without coming on, it was because we’d gone down to 10 men. He played in Kiev as a substitute, it’s only right that he starts tomorrow.”

In the absence of Dybala and Ronaldo, Morata has really stepped up, scoring three goals in two games against Crotone and Dynamo Kiev.

“This is why we signed him,” smiled Pirlo. “We knew he was a great player who provided us with different tactical options, he knows Dybala well and I think they can happily coexist in the same line-up.

“With Atletico Madrid, he had recently been accustomed to playing largely in defence, so there were 80 metres in front of him to go on the counter-attack. On the other hand, we at Juve try to keep the ball, work on the position of the body when receiving a pass, pressing to free up a man. We work for each other to ensure we can move the ball quickly.

“When it comes to Federico Bernardeschi, we wanted to test him out all along the wing, the way he used to play at Fiorentina, but he tended to be more coverage for the trident attack here. I see him in a wider role and we’re working on it, I’m sure he can be a great resource for the team.”

Federico Chiesa is suspended following his red card in the 1-1 draw with Crotone, but Weston McKennie is available.

“I have many options and it all depends on the type of game we are facing. All four midfielders are compatible, so they will rotate for the two places.

“McKennie tested negative for COVID yesterday, he’ll have his physical test today and I hope he can at least be on the bench tomorrow. Matthijs de Ligt is waiting for the all-clear from the doctors, he can train with us, albeit avoiding physical contact after his shoulder operation.”

The Champions League trip to Kiev was a new experience for Pirlo, largely because there were more fans allowed in the stadium.

“There were 20,000 people and it felt like a different world. When there’s a crowd, you realise the danger of someone approaching a player when you hear them murmur and it puts the player on alert too. It’s not easy to play behind closed doors.

“On the other hand, the quarantine period was useful, as it was like a pre-season retreat allowing us to test a few things out and explain what we wanted.”