Andrea Pirlo wants Juventus to put the pressure on Inter as they aim to close the gap between themselves and the Serie A leaders this weekend.
With a coronavirus outbreak at Inter forcing their game against Sassuolo to be postponed, Juve can move within seven points of the Nerazzurri with a home win over Benevento on Sunday – their final game before the international break.
The reigning champions – who are looking to win the Scudetto for a 10th successive season – have won their last seven league games at the Allianz Stadium too, scoring at least two goals in each of those matches while conceding just three times.
While they do have the Coppa Italia final against Atalanta to come later in the season, Juve’s surprise Champions League exit to Porto in the last 16 leaves them with time to focus fully on league duties.
“It’s our duty to put pressure on Inter and we have to do it match after match, starting tomorrow,” Pirlo told the media on Saturday.
“Our only goal now is to win as many points as possible, in order to put pressure on Inter and to make it all to play for in our game against them.
“I’ve spoken to the team, let’s see where we are after each match, thinking towards the future. We must try to win as many games as we can.
“It will not only depend on us, but we must believe that we can always win. We are aware and convinced.”
41 – In the last 5 Champions League campaigns (since 2016/17) Robert #Lewandowski has scored the joint-most goals in the competition: 41, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. Sentence.#BayernLazio #UCL #ChampionsLeague pic.twitter.com/5mNEOrmpUI
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) March 17, 2021
Pirlo confirmed that Aaron Ramsey, Merih Demiral and Alex Sandro will all miss the clash with Benevento, and also offered a further fitness update on Paulo Dybala.
“Paulo is still training without the ball, it will be the last step before returning to the pitch,” he said about Dybala, who has not featured since the 2-1 first-leg defeat to Porto in Europe, back on February 17.
“Unfortunately, he hasn’t been available and we haven’t had him at 100 per cent. I speak to him often, he wants to play, he is eager but calm.
“Alvaro Morata has recovered well. In Cagliari he was a bit tired but now he’s ready. Tomorrow, he will play from the start with [Dejan] Kulusevski.”
Pirlo will be going up against a familiar face in Benevento boss Filippo Inzaghi, the pair having played 156 Serie A games together while at Milan.
“I always follow Inzaghi’s career with affection, he is doing well and proving to be a good coach,” Pirlo said of his former team-mate. “We played together for many years, there is a lot of respect for him.”
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