Leonardo Bonucci believes that bagging a league victory over Parma in Emilia-Romagna will put the Bianconeri in good spirits ahead of next week’s Champions League quarter-final first leg with Monaco in Turin.
Having secured their spot in June’s Coppa Italia final at the Stadio Olimpico, attentions now turn to the league leaders’ upcoming domestic and European encounters in what could be a key week in their season.
And Bonucci, who scored the final goal in Tuesday’s 3-0 Coppa Italia triumph over Fiorentina, is urging his comrades to not let their guards down as the challenges continue to come thick and fast.
Speaking to Sky Sport, the 27-year-old began: “We’re having a great season, but we mustn’t dwell on what we’ve done so far and on our current position. It’s vital we win on Saturday, so as not to give hope to the chasing pack.
“A victory would also see us approach next week’s Champions League game in high spirits. We have the utmost respect for Monaco because they possess quality and deserve to be in the quarter-finals.
“We watched them up against Arsenal in the last round: counter-attack is their best weapon and Berbatov is one of the top forwards in Europe. We need to be very alert.”
During his interview, Bonucci also showered praise on Massimiliano Allegri, stating that the Tuscan tactician’s calming influence allowed the team to overturn their Coppa Italia semi-final first leg deficit and make it past Fiorentina.
“It was an important triumph that we pulled off courtesy of a great performance. Allegri is intelligent and serene, and I believe that the team reflected the boss’ character out on the pitch during our game in Florence.
“We were less rash and more patient compared to previous knockout contests in recent years. We waited to strike at the right moment.”
With 40 appearances in all competitions under his belt this season, Bonucci has featured the most out of any player in a black and white jersey. The former Bari man, however, was quick to discount any thought of him being “indispensable” to the team.
“Of course it’s great to play in so many matches and have the opportunity to fight with this shirt but you can’t think that you’re indispensable.
“It’s not possible to have that opinion in a team game, especially when you belong to a group full of other players who are just as important.”
Certain sections of the media have expressed that a treble is very much on for the Old Lady this season, and while Bonucci feels it’s not out of the question, the defender highlighted that he and his team-mates must continue with the same winning mentality that has served them well this term.
He concluded: “Provided that we keep our feet on the ground, there’s no harm in dreaming [of a treble]. We can’t mislead ourselves, it’s imperative we maintain that winning desire to be able to triumph.
“We’re aware of our strength and this boils down to the success we tasted over the last few seasons, where we were able to achieve some important targets. Now we’re ready to do the same this time around.”