Not yet two weeks have passed since Juventus met Lazio in the Italian Super Cup on 18 August, but the Serie A fixtures list has pitted the two teams against each other once again this Saturday. This time, though, the game is at Juventus Stadium: even more incentive, according to Giorgio Chiellini, for the Biancocelesti to seek revenge for their 4-0 loss last time around.
Speaking to Sky Sport, the 29-year-old defender warned his team-mates of the threat of Vladimir Petkovic's men: “I would have preferred there to have been a bit more time between the two meetings. It has only been a few days since the Super Cup, and honestly I don’t think the gap between the two sides is as big as that scoreline might have made it seem.
“We were good at striking for the jugular and making the most of our opportunities, but Lazio are a great side and they made that clear in their first game of the season. They will be out to show people what they’re made of and get revenge against us on Saturday, so it will be a very tough game and we will have to be strong to get the better of them.”
The first round of the new campaign, which saw all the main Scudetto contenders get points on the board (with the exception of Milan), sprung no great surprises on Chiellini: “It was all what I had envisaged, and in fact the only unexpected result was the Rossoneri’s.
“I had suspected that it wasn’t going to be easy for them to play away against a newly-promoted team like Hellas Verona in such a fiery atmosphere , but I didn’t expect them to end up losing. I’m happy for Luca Toni, who is a friend a mine and is still playing at a high level even at 36. He deserves his success.”
One of the most positive aspects of Juve’s performances in the opening two official games has been their solid defence, but the defensive stalwart in the Juve back line insisted that the credit should be shared equally amongst all of his team-mates.
He noted: “What makes the difference is the whole side working together, and everyone here wants to grow not just individually but also as a collective unit. The new arrivals will be a great help, and we know that in order to repeat the success we had last year it won’t be enough to simply do the same again.
“After winning the last two Scudetto titles, we are obviously the favourites, but we’re starting again from scratch. Our biggest motivation is experiencing the joy of victory and we all need to maintain the desire for that taste of success.”
To conclude, his focus turned from Italy to Europe, with the Champions League draw on Thursday now imminent: “If I had to choose a team for us to avoid I’d say Bayern Munich. In any case, we’ll take each game as it comes and take stock of it afterwards. The Champions League mustn’t be an objective, but instead a dream for us to pursue.”