Chiellini: ‘Juve weren’t favourites’

by | May 19, 2021 23:13

Giorgio Chiellini admits ‘for the first time in 10 years, Juventus went into an Italian Final and were not the favourites,’ but they knew Atalanta had used up a lot of energy in the first half and would fall away.

The Bianconeri eventually won 2-1 at the Mapei Stadium, with 4,300 fans in the arena.

Giorgio Chiellini admits ‘for the first time in 10 years, Juventus went into an Italian Final and were not the favourites,’ but they knew Atalanta had used up a lot of energy in the first half and would fall away.

The Bianconeri eventually won 2-1 at the Mapei Stadium, with 4,300 fans in the arena.

“Even if it was only 20-25 per cent capacity, it was a whole other sport. It fired everyone up, not that we necessarily needed that, and it was a totally different atmosphere,” Chiellini told RAI Sport.

“I am doing fine physically. I am enjoying the present, I’m very happy with these months and fortunately we won tonight. After the heavy defeat to Milan, we rediscovered our ability to suffer and fight for every result. We must try to win on Sunday and hope that the results go our way, if not then we tip our hats to those who did better.

“This Coppa Italia means a lot to us, because I was talking to Gigi Buffon at lunch today and for the first time in 10 years Juventus went into an Italian Final and were not the favourites. It felt a bit strange.”

Atalanta had several big chances in the first half and forced saves from Buffon, but it was 1-1 at the break with goals from Dejan Kulusevski and Ruslan Malinovskyi. Federico Chiesa got the winner after the restart.

“It reminded me of the Champions League Final with Cardiff, but in reverse. Atalanta started with such ferocity and aggression that they were going twice our speed. In the opening minutes, Jose Luis Palomino almost scored from six yards and he’s a centre-back, which shows you how they were all pouring forward.

“We expected them to start strong, but not that strong. The sensation we had at half-time was that Atalanta had used up a lot of energy and we could cause them problems with a higher press. We were more organised, they fell away over time and we grew stronger.

“The idea was to press them a bit higher, that way they can’t have that build-up of pressure when they play out from the back. It’s inevitable they’d lose some intensity after that first half played at a frantic tempo.”

Chiellini was asked, as Juventus captain, if he thinks the club ought to keep Andrea Pirlo on the bench.

“With all due respect, we all gave our heart and soul for the coach, but these are decisions that go to the club. We gave our all with Maurizio Sarri and the year before with Allegri true, it’s not fair to say Juve didn’t work as hard with different coaches. Of course we get along well with Pirlo and want to continue working with him.”

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