Andrea Pirlo has ‘great respect’ for Atalanta and Champions League opponents FC Porto, warning Juventus ‘need consistency in attitude and concentration.’
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“It’s a difficult game against a very strong team, one that has been a reality of Italian football for several years now,” Pirlo told JTV.
“We have seen their progress not only in Serie A, but also in the Champions League, so it’ll be tough and we must face them with the same attitude as a top club.
“I am not amazed by their consistency, because they’ve been doing this for a few years now thanks to the work of the coach and club. They are a reality and therefore we owe them great respect.
“Gian Piero Gasperini started out here at the Juventus youth academy and has done well pretty much everywhere he went. He has a very specific way of playing and his ideas are paying off with results.”
Juve are trying to embrace a more attacking style of football too under Pirlo, having struggled to implement Maurizio Sarri’s ideas last season, even though they won the Scudetto.
“More than results, we need the consistency in attitude and concentration, so we face every game the same way, whether it’s in the Champions League or Serie A. When you have the right spirit and attitude, the results tend to go your way.
“The team has improved above all in its tendency to seek a result through an aggressive approach, trying to get the ball back quickly and keep the game under control. We do have to improve our technical aspects, as we misplace too many passes and that needs a lot of work.
“The main thing I keep talking to the squad about is concentration, because we do still get distracted at certain moments of the game. If we’re not plugged in for 95 minutes, the games are going to get complicated. If you don’t face every match with the right concentration, you risk ugly surprises.”
The Champions League draw was held yesterday and Juventus were pitted against FC Porto for the Round of 16 in February.
“It’s a fair draw. When we reach this stage of the tournament, all the opponents are tough. We respect Porto and must face them with the right attitude. There’s time for that, though, we have to focus on the league now,” concluded the coach.