Antonio Conte has urged the Bianconeri faithful to raise the roof as Juventus go in search of all three points from Wednesday night’s Champions League home debut against Galatasaray at Juventus Stadium.
The manager believes the fans have a vital part to play in creating the right atmosphere to spur his team on to victory against a Galatasaray outfit bolstered by the recent arrival of new coach Roberto Mancini.
Having seen Real Madrid roar to a 6-1 win at the Türk Telekom Arena in last month’s first round of Champions League matches, Conte believes tomorrow’s game has assumed an even greater importance as far as the final destiny of Group B is concerned.
Addressing the media in Vinovo, the 44-year-old began: “We’ll require an intense performance because we need to win. It’s important for our prospects in the group which, given the results of the first matchday, have shown Real to be a cut above the rest. Galatasaray have excellent players and I’d like to call on our fans to make their voices heard and act as our twelfth man on the field of play.”
Making his voice heard in the visitors’ dugout will be the familiar figure of Mancini, who was yesterday confirmed as Galatasaray’s new coach after penning a three-year deal with the Istanbul-based club.
And whilst welcoming his fellow countryman’s return to the European scene, Conte was quick to warn of the tactical pitfalls associated with taking on a recently installed manager.
“It’s nice to have him back, also because it increases the number of Italian coaches in the Champions League. He’s enjoyed success both here and abroad and is one of the best in Europe, he deserves to be back in the dugout.
"I would have preferred to meet him later on though, because when a team changes their manager it’s difficult to work out how they’re going to line up tactically. His arrival has certainly strengthened Galatasaray.”
Along with making a good impression on their new manager, Galatasaray will also be aiming to avenge their humbling introduction to this year’s Champions League group stages.
Yet Conte is adamant the heavy defeat suffered at the hands of a rampant Real Madrid was in no way indicative of the Turks’ performance on an unfortunate night in Istanbul.
“The final scoreline didn’t reflect how the game panned out and therefore we’ll have to be extremely alert tomorrow night. Galatasaray should have been in front at the break but missed their chances before Real pounced. They had a great opportunity to draw level in the second half, but then Real did well to make the most of their chances and end the game with a comprehensive victory.”
The Bianconeri were also left to regret an opportunity missed on matchday one as, despite creating a hatful of chances at Parken Stadium, they were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw against FC Copenhagen.
“We weren’t able to take advantage of the chances we created in Copenhagen. We weren’t particularly precise in front of goal, didn’t quite have that rub of the green and the goalkeeper was in fine form. We’ll view it as an off day, but I’d always prefer to have lots of chances and fail to score as opposed to not shooting at all.”
Conte concluded by updating reporters on various question marks concerning tomorrow’s starting line-up, revealing a selection dilemma in midfield before providing a progress report on recent fitness doubts Carlos Tevez and Mirko Vucinic.
“I’ve got a slight doubt as far as the midfield’s concerned, as there are two players who could do with a rest, Pogba and Marchisio. Tevez didn’t train yesterday and we’ll continue to monitor him both today and tomorrow, I’d never pick a player who hobbles onto the pitch.
“Vucinic? As I explained before the derby, he came back from international duty with a heavily bruised knee which prevented him from running normally and subsequently brought on this problem with his heel bone. He’s better now and is available for tomorrow. I’ll decide whether he features or not.”