Tuesday January 5 2021
Pirlo: 'Milan-Juve always fascinating'

Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said it’s ‘normal to depend on a champion like Cristiano Ronaldo’ when he prepares for a ‘fascinating’ match against League leaders Milan.

But Alex Sandro tested positive for coronavirus last night and gave Pirlo some uncertainty ahead of the big game.

The coach said the Bianconeri are now waiting for the results of the rest of his teammates ahead of the match against the Rossoneri.

“We took the tests this morning and we are waiting for the results,” Pirlo said at a press conference. “In the afternoon we will know if there will be other situations, for now we are just waiting.”

Pirlo said Juventus are working to bounce back and fight for the title this spring but doesn’t believe the Old Lady are out of the race with a defeat to Milan.

“We are working for that, we started 2021 with a win and a positive attitude. We take one game at a time, then we will evaluate the table in a couple of months

“It’s certainly an important match, but not a decisive one. Playing Milan-Juventus is always fascinating.

“It was as a player and it will be as a coach. We will play the game to do our best, it will be important but not decisive.”

Pirlo confirmed Paulo Dybala will be back in the squad and looks forward to his first game as a coach against Milan, where he spent 10 years as a player.

“Yesterday, Paulo had developed a fever but today he was better, he will be part of the match barring unforeseen events.

“Milan are a team where I have played a lot and won a lot. For me it’s an important game, even if the club has changed a lot, seeing that there’s only [Paolo] Maldini left who I know.

“It will still be wonderful, also because it’s the first time I have faced them as a coach.”

Adrien Rabiot returns from suspension and Pirlo confirmed Arthur Melo has recovered ahead of the match against the Diavolo.

“Rabiot has finally recovered from the suspension, Arthur has also recovered and is doing much better,” the coach added.

“The blow against Atalanta kept him out for a while. The other night he did a few minutes and now he will be available.

“We will evaluate who will be there tomorrow, also looking at the analysis of the swabs.”

Pirlo expects a tough match against the League leaders and claimed it’s ‘normal’ to depend on a champion like Cristiano Ronaldo.

“We have to be careful, they are very good at winning the ball back and attacking quickly,” he said. “We have seen that in the videos.

“They arrive at goal with two or three passes, we must be technically good and pay attention to the counter attacks.

“From the beginning we tried to exploit Ronaldo for his characteristics, we wanted to bring him to be decisive in the last metres.

“He was decisive everywhere, it’s normal when you have a champion like him, that you depend on him.

“But we are happy as well. [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic is also fundamental for them, because he changes the way they play, but they have exploited the characteristics of the others in his absence.

“Milan don’t lose many games, so they certainly have something good: they are the team to beat. We will try to go to San Siro to impose our game.”

Pirlo said he’s not sure if Alvaro Morata will recover for the match against Sassuolo at the weekend but revealed Giorgio Chiellini and Merih Demiral are back.

“He [Morata] is recovering and doing physiotherapy, we will evaluate in the next few days but we don’t know how many days he will be out.

“Let’s talk to the doctors and see when they say he can return.

“[Chiellini and Demiral] have recovered, they are quite well. Maybe they don’t have the pace to play 90 minutes, but they could play in case of emergency.”