Federico Marchetti is confident Lazio can take full advantage of Juventus’ injuries and close-season departures to lift the Supercoppa Italiana in Shanghai on Saturday.
Although Paulo Dybala, Simone Zaza and Mario Mandzukic are among a number of eye-catching signings, the Italian champions have seen several key men leave since the end of last season, while injuries are also wreaking havoc.
Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo and Carlos Tevez – all integral to last season’s double and run to the UEFA Champions League final – have moved on, with Giorgio Chiellini, new signing Sami Khedira and Alvaro Morata missing through injury.
With a month of pre-season training under his belt, compared to Juve’s two weeks, Marchetti told Lazio Style Radio: “We’re ready for this – it is not impossible to beat Juventus and we saw that in the Coppa Italia final.
“We are playing against the best team in Italy, but we’re strong and we have shown that.
“In recent years they [Juve] have won four successive league titles, but this year they have lost important players, even if the rest [of the squad] has stayed the same. For us this can be an advantage.”
When the two sides were pitted against each other in May’s Coppa Italia final, early goals from Stefan Radu and Chiellini saw the match taken to extra time, before Alessandro Matri proved decisive.
Juve claimed their first Coppa title since the 1994-95 season and Lazio, who were hoping to lift the trophy for a seventh time, are now hoping for redemption as the Italian curtain-raiser returns to China for a fourth time.
Juve’s pre-season form is unlikely to send shivers down the spines of Lazio players either, having lost to Marseille and Borussia Dortmund either side of a slender 2-1 defeat of Lechia Gdansk, who finished eighth in Poland’s Ekstraklasa last term.
Massimiliano Allegri has received criticism for Juve’s preparations for the new season, with training not beginning until July 20 and their first friendly coming just five days later, but the former Milan tactician is upbeat.
“I’m sorry about the injuries too, but we are calm about the situation and we hope to have them available again soon,” he said.
“It was necessary to start work on July 20. We had guys that had only stopped playing in June.
“The important thing is to play a good game, which could last 120 minutes. We’re in good physical condition, though.”
While Juve have several absentees due to injury, Lazio should be virtually full strength, with Ravel Morrison, Stefan de Vrij and Radu all training despite recent knocks, though Filip Djordjevic (ankle) is a doubt.
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