Claudio Marchisio has urged his team-mates to rise to the occasion and register an all-important Champions League victory in Turin on Tuesday evening.
The midfielder, speaking on the eve of the Bianconeri’s Group A contest with Olympiacos at Juventus Stadium, highlighted that tomorrow served as “the first decisive game of this campaign”.
Addressing the media in Vinovo, Marchisio began: “We’re up against a tough outfit that beat both us and Atletico at their ground, but this time we’re at Juventus Stadium and our faithful will spur us on.
“Even though we currently have a depleted backline - with those who are still fit playing every single game - we’ve got the second-best defence in Europe.
“The plaudits go out to the team and a good example of this was the encounter in Madrid, where the local press praised us for our display. It had been a long time since an Italian side took the game to a Spanish team for 90 minutes.
“We lost and it’s a disappointment because, as the boss says, if we’re unable to find a winner in certain games, it’s important to at least draw. This especially goes for the Champions League where a point could make all the difference to advance to the next stage.”
Without a European title since 1996, Juventus have endured a somewhat difficult period in recent editions of the Champions League but Marchisio defended his side’s latest displays, citing that overall progress has been made over the last few years.
“Our record in Europe has come under fire, but during the past two seasons, we enjoyed a quarter-final run in 2013 and even though we went out in the group stage of the Champions League last time out, we managed to reach the semi-finals of the Europa League. We have made progress.”
In spite of recent criticism following a dip in form, Marchisio remains upbeat about the Bianconeri’s chances of enjoying a positive season and backs them to carry on improving as the season wears on.
“We’re top of the league and still in the hunt for getting through the Champions League group stages. There are times when the team doesn’t play at its best, granted. During this month - in games against Sassuolo, Genoa and Olympiacos - we’ve gifted enough points out to rivals. It’s important to keep up our good performances and get everyone fit so we can keep moving forward.”