Pirlo: ‘Juve fight Atalanta intensity’

by | May 18, 2021 17:57

Andrea Pirlo confirms Leonardo Bonucci is out of the Coppa Italia Final against Atalanta, warning Juventus can expect ‘shots on target, tempo and intensity. It’s practically a European level game.’

It kicks off on Wednesday at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT) at the Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia.

There is the risk of distraction for the Bianconeri, who must beat Bologna on Sunday and hope either Milan or Napoli slip up to snatch a top four finish.

Andrea Pirlo confirms Leonardo Bonucci is out of the Coppa Italia Final against Atalanta, warning Juventus can expect ‘shots on target, tempo and intensity. It’s practically a European level game.’

It kicks off on Wednesday at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT) at the Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia.

There is the risk of distraction for the Bianconeri, who must beat Bologna on Sunday and hope either Milan or Napoli slip up to snatch a top four finish.

Leonardo Bonucci will not be taking part, as the coach confirmed he sprained his knee, so probably won’t be ready for the weekend either.

“I don’t think it’ll be a defensive game at all, because everyone knows when you’re up against Atalanta to expect shots on target, tempo and intensity,” said Pirlo in his press conference.

“It’s practically a European level game. We are ready, we know them and what to expect. There’s a trophy to be lifted, we earned our place in the Final and now we want to bring this cup home. We can think about the rest from Thursday.

“The mentality will not be affected by Serie A, as we are focused only on the Final. What happened is in the past, so until tomorrow evening all we need to think about is bringing home this trophy.”

Despite the difficulties in Serie A and the Champions League, Pirlo has already won the Italian Supercup and could take another trophy.

“I am fortunate to have two Finals in my first season, whereas this is only Gian Piero Gasperini’s second in his career. We had two different career paths, but we are two different coaches with very different personalities.

“He brought Atalanta to play the Champions League knockouts and his team’s success is recognised all over Europe. I am just at the start of my career and hope to have many more finals like this.”

Pirlo seemed irritated when asked if his continuation on the Juventus bench depends on this Cup or a top four finish in Serie A.

“I already answered this question a thousand times. I am just focused on doing my work well, by winning tomorrow and on Sunday. We’ll have to time to talk about the future.”

Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata were both benched for the win over Inter, in favour of Dejan Kulusevski, so who will partner Cristiano Ronaldo against Atalanta?

“We have a few different options, as the forward players are all in good shape. We’ll decide tomorrow. The team is doing well physically and we did very well against Inter even down to 10 men. However, the mentality is more important than physical fitness at this stage,”

This is the first Italian game of 2021 with fans in the stadium, as 4,300 are allowed into the Mapei Stadium.

“It’s wonderful and exciting. We played some Champions League games with a few fans and you really do notice the difference,” added Pirlo.

“There are teams accustomed to having pressure on them and the fans cheering them on, they can help increase focus and enthusiasm. We are one of those teams, we need to feel that stimulation from the crowd and we missed it at times this year.”

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