Monaco duo Leonardo Jardim and Andrea Raggi say their side’s achievements in this season’s Champions League make them deserving of “maximum respect” from the Bianconeri tomorrow night.
With a strong defensive spine and speedy forwards on the counter, the Ligue 1 club have earned plenty of plaudits for the way in which they topped their group before dispatching heavily-fancied Arsenal in the last 16.
And Jardim is calling on his men to aim for another upset tomorrow night, this time against reigning Italian champions Juventus.
Previewing the clash in Turin, the 40-year-old began: “Our team is in the quarter-finals on merit. We topped the group and beat Arsenal, making us deserving of respect. Juventus possess plenty of quality and experience and are favourites for tomorrow. We’ll show them the right level of respect whilst looking to bring out our qualities.”
A question on the threat posed by Carlos Tevez yielded a complimentary response from the Portuguese boss, although he insists the Argentine frontman will not be the only worry his men will have to contend with tomorrow.
“Tevez is Serie A’s top scorer and a player who possesses experience and quality. We’ll need to take the right measures to keep him quiet. But Juventus also have a great goalkeeper, excellent defence, top midfield and fine strikers.
“We play in an organised fashion with the focus on the collective. Everyone has a job to do both when attacking and defending. In that sense, we’re quite similar to Juventus when tasked with winning the ball back.”
Sat alongside his manager during today’s press conference was Andrea Raggi, who outlined the importance of playing without fear against the Serie A title holders.
The 30-year-old affirmed: “We’re not here by chance and we’ll give as good as we get tomorrow. We’re here on merit and that’s why we deserve respect. Our strength lies in the collective and our youngsters. We’ll need to play with cool heads, the greater pressure lies on Juve’s shoulders and that’s an advantage for us.”
The defender, who swapped Italy for France when he completed a move from Bologna three years ago, was full of praise for the progress made by former Empoli team-mate Claudio Marchisio, while the name of danger man Tevez was also on his lips.
“Marchisio is a top player. I played with him at Empoli and knew he would end up a top player. He’s proved me right. Tevez is a great striker and has made the difference for Juventus this season. We’ll need to keep a close eye on him from start to finish.”