Giorgio Chiellini fears Juventus could feel the brunt of a Manchester City backlash when they host the Premier League side in Champions League Group D.
Manuel Pellegrini’s team lost their place at the summit of England’s top flight in brutal fashion on Saturday as they were thrashed 4-1 by Liverpool, producing a display that made their manager “more than angry”.
Juve beat City in Manchester at the start of the group campaign but consecutive draws against Borussia Monchengladbach have seen them cede the initiative, as their opponents beat the Bundesliga side before chalking up home and away triumphs over Sevilla.
A dominant 3-1 victory in Spain secured qualification for the knockout stages with two matches to spare for City, and another win in Turin would seal top spot and a seeded place in the last-16 draw.
Having been paired with and beaten by Barcelona after qualifying as runners-up over the past two seasons, City are expected to place significant value on topping the pile in the round-robin stage this time around.
Nevertheless, Chiellini – who scored an own goal when the teams met at the Etihad Stadium – believes it will be wounded professional pride rather than this ambition that lends an edge to City at Juventus Stadium.
“I’d have preferred to see a more peaceful and secure Manchester,” Chiellini told Sky Italia.
“They’re a squad of great talents, maybe it would be easier to take advantage of an opportunity if they were more relaxed.
“Having already qualified, at this point they could be a bit more relaxed. Now though they’ll be super-attentive, super-eager for redemption.
“So we’ll play a great match, because we want to get through on Wednesday.”
Pellegrini’s tactics and selection came under considerable scrutiny after the Liverpool loss – a far cry from the praise he earned when a dynamic midfield dismantled Sevilla earlier this month.
The decisions to leave defender Nicolas Otamendi and midfield lynchpin Fernandinho on the bench after travelling back from World Cup qualifying action in South America backfired on Pellegrini, as Liverpool overran his team in central areas, City centre-backs Martin Demichelis and Eliaquim Mangala in particular turning in shambolic displays.
Pellegrini does not expect to be able to bolster his defence by selecting Vincent Kompany, a troublesome calf injury again the source of his captain’s woes, while playmaker David Silva (ankle) is also set to miss out alongside hamstring injury victims Wilfried Bony and Samir Nasri – the latter having recently undergone surgery.
“The important thing is to try to recover our performance,” said Pellegrini, who insisted the weekend experience will not force him to abandon his attacking instincts.
“It’s important to try to win, we always try to win.
“If you can’t win then, of course, it’s always good to get a point, but we are not going to go to Juventus just to try to draw.”
Juve have injury problems of their own ahead of the match, with Hernanes (groin) and Sami Khedira (muscular injury) ruled out.
Former Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra was substituted after 29 minutes of a 1-0 Serie A win over AC Milan on Saturday and will be assessed alongside Martin Caceres (thigh).
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!