Antonio Conte insists it will be business as usual when the reigning champions of Italy run out in Istanbul for tomorrow night’s crucial final Champions League Group B fixture at Galatasaray’s Turk Telekom Arena.
With runaway group leaders Real Madrid booking their place in the last 16 back in October, Juventus know that two of three outcomes – a win or a draw – will see them safely through to the knockout stages of Europe’s elite competition.
When asked if he would approach the game differently, Conte remained adamant there would be no change in his team’s mantra to win every encounter at all costs.
Speaking to the media at Galatasaray’s home ground, the 44-year-old began: “It’s a make or break match. It’s not the first one we’ve faced and I hope we’ll be able to play more of these games in the future.
“It’s another step in our development, against a strong Galatasaray side who will want to make their home advantage count. We’ll try to dictate the game without thinking about the fact that a draw would also suit us. We’ll go for the win, just as we always do.”
Over in the other dugout, opposing number Roberto Mancini, who is tipped to mirror the Bianconeri’s 3-5-2 formation, will hope the fiery atmosphere will play in Galatasaray’s favour as he attempts to end his fellow countryman’s nine-game unbeaten run in all competitions.
Paying tribute to the former Lazio boss, Conte said: “Mancini’s an excellent manager and Galatasaray are in good hands, just like they were with Terim. He’s only recently joined the club and it always takes a while to settle in and convey your philosophy to the squad.”
“There isn’t a favourite for tomorrow’s match. We both approach it on a level playing field and I hope the team that has shown itself to be the best emerges victorious at the final whistle.”
There is plenty of room for optimism in the Juventus camp, however, after they recorded their seventh straight Serie A victory without conceding with last Friday’s solid 2-0 triumph over Bologna.
But Conte is leaving nothing down to chance and believes his men will have to limit the supply to attacking duo Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder if they are to emerge from Istanbul unscathed.
“We’ve certainly improved since the last time we met Galatasaray, but we know we’ll be up against a very good side. Players like Drogba and Sneijder are very dangerous and we’ll have to be on our guard throughout.”
Cool heads in a hostile atmosphere will be key for tomorrow’s crunch game and the Bianconeri will be deprived of one of their most experienced international performers in Andrea Pirlo.
“There’s no denying Andrea’s importance to Juventus. Unfortunately he’s sustained an injury, but we’ve already done well without him against Udinese and Bologna. Tomorrow we’ll need to do even better.”