Friday February 26 2021
Pirlo: 'Juventus must continue to believe'

Andrea Pirlo admitted Juventus have ‘lacked energy’ due to the tough fixture list and ‘few players’ available, but stressed the Old Lady still target the Scudetto. ‘It remains our goal’.

Pirlo expects another tough battel for the points when Juventus travel to the Bentegodi to face Ivan Juric’s Hellas Verona on Saturday.

“It will be a very difficult and physical game,” Pirlo said at a press conference. “Juric plays very good football, made up of many one-on-one situations.

“We must be careful with their runs and play.

“They are doing well and then they have added players in the transfer market compared to the first leg. Therefore, a tough challenge awaits us.

“We can’t be surprised by their physical approach, knowing they play a similar style to Atalanta.

“We must be careful and know how to play for each other with quick exchanges and attack the space.”

Pirlo confirmed he won’t recover any of the injured players in time for the match against the Gialloblu and said centre-back Radu Dragusin could start.

“No one will recover, Dragusin could be an option from the start,” Pirlo continued. “Luckily we have a player who returns like [Adrien] Rabiot and therefore we have an extra midfielder to rotate.

“In addition to the youngsters, we also have [Rodrigo] Bentancur, plus [Aaron] Ramsey and [Weston] McKennie.

“We have one more.”

Pirlo was asked why if he has changed his philosophy in recent weeks.

“It depends a lot on the matches, also on the quantity of matches and unfortunately on the few players we have available,” he said.

“We have always rotated the same ones and therefore it’s normal that there’s a lack of energy. Then it also depends on the type of game.”

The coach gave updates on the situations of Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala and thinks Dejan Kulusevski has performed out of position.

“Kulusevski is doing well,” Pirlo added. “He’s learning a lot.

“He’s playing in a role that is not his and we ask for a different game than his characteristics and he can do it well.

“For the others, there’s no news. For Alvaro we will wait a few days, now he must rest until Sunday.

“For Paulo, we evaluate the best solution to make him available as soon as possible.

“Dybala is not at risk for an operation. He had a consultation and now we’ll see what the best treatment will be.

“The recovery time of Dybala has unfortunately been prolonged and we haven’t been able to get him back.”

He revealed Federico Bernardeschi could start against Hellas Verona tomorrow.

“He has many possibilities to start,” he said. “He’s one of the few who is always well.”

Juventus-Napoli has been scheduled for March 17, adding to an already cramped fixture list.

“We will make a virtue of necessity and play with those we have available,” the coach continued. “We knew from the beginning of the season that it would be tough.

“In addition, there was also the postponement with Napoli which will force us to add another one in such a busy period.

“But now that we are here, we will do our best.”

Pirlo joked he would play if he could, to help ease the load on the ones he has available.

“I’m fine, but I can’t play,” Pirlo joked. “I’d gladly do it, but I cant. I’ll try to adapt to those who are there, but we’ve been going on like this for some time now and we have to do this.

“We have to make those we have perform at their best.”

With a week of training, Pirlo hopes to see Juventus at their best against the Gialloblu.

“In the end, we only had a full training yesterday,” he said. “The previous days were of recovery.

“After so many games you need one more day of recovery than usual and luckily we had it.

“Then one to work completely was yesterday and we did well.

“Today we will finalise the preparation and tomorrow we hope to improve.”

Juventus lost 2-1 to FC Porto in the first leg of the last 16 last week and Pirlo said it’s a completely different competition.

“In the Champions League, the ball goes twice as fast as in the League,” he said. “They make you play completely different games.

“We have seen it and known it for years. When you get to the Champions League, you must adapt. We know we have to, and we work a lot on this aspect.”

Pirlo said Federico Chiesa can play on both sides but admitted the former Fiorentina man ‘feels better’ at right.

“Federico plays well on both sides. On the right he feels better because he’s more used to it, but he has always performed well at left too.

“A lot depends on the games we play and the opponents.”

Pirlo has not given up on winning their 10thstraight Scudetto.

“We continue to talk about it, it remains our goal,” he revealed. “We must continue with the desire to achieve it, because it’s within our reach.

“We are Juventus and we must continue to believe in it until the end."