Cagliari boss Diego Lopez believes his men must take the game to Juventus if they are to have any hopes of picking up points against the reigning champions of Italy tomorrow afternoon in Sardinia.
The Uruguayan coach, who took the Rossoblu job permanently from Ivo Pulga in the summer, claims his side need to avoid succumbing to Bianconeri pressure in and around the penalty box and look to cause one or two problems of their own when venturing forward.
Speaking to the media at his pre-match press conference, the 39-year-old said: “You have to look to play your own game. If you don’t try and move towards their goal, they remain camped out in front of your area and it becomes difficult - sooner or later you’ll concede. I’m not saying it will be easy, but I don’t see another way to go about getting a positive result.”
Cagliari approach the game off the back of a seven-match unbeaten run which has hauled them into a position of relative mid-table security.
But Lopez, who pinpointed Carlos Tevez and Andrea Pirlo as principal threats, is fully aware that his men will have to be at their very best if they are to successfully combat the individual class possessed by the Bianconeri.
“Juventus have world-class individuals, such as Tevez and Pirlo. All opposing coaches, both at club and international level, use a man marker to try and nullify the threat of Pirlo, but he always manages to give his opponent the slip and play well.”
One player who will not be featuring at the Stadio Sant’Elia is highly-rated midfielder Radja Nainggolan, whose four-year stint in Sardinia came to an end following this week’s move to Roma.
And whilst conceding the loss of the influential Belgian represents a blow to his side’s ambitions, Lopez expressed his confidence in the alternative options at his disposal.
“Radja’s a complete player, I’m sure he’ll do well at Roma. I hope he does because he’s also a great lad. It would be impossible to find a like-for-like replacement, but we have players with different characteristics who can perform very well.”