Giorgio Chiellini believes positivity is the key to Juventus enjoying a long run in this season’s Champions League competition.
The defender, speaking on the eve of the opening Group A clash against Malmo, warned against dwelling on previous disappointments and urged the team to focus on the excitement surrounding tomorrow’s return of European football to Juventus Stadium.
Addressing the media in Vinovo, Chiellini began: “There’s a lot of enthusiasm around the place, from myself, within the team and the city of Turin. I think we need to maintain that throughout this adventure. Rather than focusing on having to prove ourselves or erasing the disappointment of last season, we need to try and surprise people and achieve something big."
Reigning Allsvenskan champions Malmo, Sweden’s first Champions League representatives in 14 years, provide the first Group A test tomorrow night in Turin and Chiellini insists there will be no danger of the Bianconeri underestimating the opposition.
“We’re not expecting an easy win by any stretch of the imagination. We know that it’s going to be a tough game. We still bear the scars of last year and two years ago, from the results against Copenhagen and Nordsjælland. I think Malmo will be quite similar to those teams, given the likeness in the brand of football they play and their geographical proximity.”
The 30-year-old, who crossed the 300 Juventus appearance barrier at the turn of the year, is expected to do battle with Markus Rosenberg tomorrow night after confirming his return to full fitness following an injury sustained while on international duty with the Azzurri.
With ten goals in his last 12 appearances in all competitions, the former Ajax and Werder Bremen frontman represents Malmo’s greatest goal threat and Chiellini confirmed the Bianconeri are already doing their homework on the dangers to watch out for.
“In terms of Malmo’s players, I’m most familiar with Rosenberg because he’s played for his country, so I know all about him. They also have a lad who used to play in Italy with Palermo and then Novara, Mehmeti. He played here for a couple of years, I think. Aside from that, we’re studying their other players. We can win the match, but only if we show real desire, strong focus and great respect for our opponents."