Juventus vice-president Pavel Nedved confirms Paulo Dybala is ‘at the centre of our project’ and they are confident of challenging for Champions League glory this season. ‘We have what it takes.’
You can follow all the build-up and action as it happens from Malmoe vs. Juventus and Villarreal vs. Atalanta on the LIVEBLOG.
Champions League Liveblog: Malmo-Juventus and Villarreal-Atalanta
It has been a disastrous start to the season for the Bianconeri under returning coach Max Allegri, picking up just a 2-2 draw with Udinese, then back-to-back defeats with Empoli and Napoli.
“We hope this will be our first win of the season,” Nedved told Sky Sport Italia and JTV.
“Not being able to win is frankly a novelty for us. We must remain concentrated, play our game and enjoy the Champions League. Naturally, we will try to win the Champions League. People keep saying we are a young team, which is true to a degree, but we’ve still got what it takes to compete in Europe. I am confident.”
Juventus were missing their South American players for Saturday’s trip to Napoli, as they returned late from international duty, but they are back in the starting XI in Sweden.
Federico Chiesa and Federico Bernardeschi have pulled out through injury, joining Arthur and Kaio Jorge, but Paulo Dybala starts.
“We have put Dybala at the centre of our project. We are counting on the player and will try to get the contract signed as soon as possible.
“It will turn into a 3-5-2 at times, as Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro push up. With tactics, you need to look at how everyone is set out on the pitch.
“We certainly have to battle Malmo on a physical level, as they are Swedish, strong and dangerous in that sense. We’ve got something more in terms of quality, but must keep up with their tempo and physicality.”
This is Allegri’s first Champions League game after two years away, but he has the experience to lead Juve through difficult times.
“The players need calm. We have just started, there’s no need to panic, this is a whole season-long process,” continued Nedved.
“Even if we haven’t started the way we wanted to, we have time to make up for it in Serie A. That’s not quite the same in the Champions League, there is less time to recover.
“We also hope a win this evening will help boost the self-esteem of the players. I didn’t dislike the performances in two of the three games, and felt we picked up less than we deserved. We weren’t concentrated for the full 90 minutes and you pay a heavy price for individual errors, but they are easier to resolve than anything deeper rooted.”
Nedved a JTV: ‘Allegri ha ragione, serve calma. Ma in Champions non si può sbagliare, altrimenti…’ https://t.co/vR0lwmF9BB pic.twitter.com/L8tKrmJ1N3
— ilbianconero (@ilbianconerocom) September 14, 2021