17.04.2015 17:03 - in: Serie A S

    Pioli: “We’ll have to be at our best”

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    The Lazio manager says his side need to be well prepared if they are to become the first team to beat the Bianconeri on home turf in Serie A this term

    Stefano Pioli says Lazio will have to be at their best if they want to become the first team since Sampdoria in January 2013 to come away from Juventus Stadium with a Serie A victory on Saturday evening.

    The 49-year-old, who spent three seasons with the Bianconeri as a player in the mid-eighties, also went on to explain that he wouldn’t be setting out his second-placed charges to play for a point in Turin.

    Speaking at his press conference prior to Lazio’s departure, Pioli began: “We’re enjoying some good form, we want to carry on our positive run and try to pull off a victory: we have it in our locker to do so.

    “It’s important we don’t go out there settling for a point, because that’s when you go on to lose. If we were to draw following a hard-fought performance, it would be a good result.

    “We’ll have to be at our best in order to try and beat them. We’ll need to set the tone, remain compact and look to strike.”

    Casting his mind back to November’s corresponding encounter, when a Paul Pogba brace and further strike from Carlos Tevez sealed a 3-0 triumph for the Old Lady, Pioli was quick to outline that his outfit had come on leaps and bounds since the home defeat.

    “They taught us a lesson in the reverse fixture. Juve are the league’s best side, but we’ve made progress in terms of maturity and intelligence since last locking horns in Rome. We want to see if we’ve closed the gap on Italy’s strongest team.”

    Despite approaching tomorrow's contest on the back of eight straight victories in Italy's top flight, the Parma-born boss ended proceedings by first dispelling talk of a title challenge even if Lazio were to go on and reign supreme in Turin, before then paying tribute to the way Juventus have acquitted themselves this season. 

    “Juve have a healthy advantage and whatever the result is tomorrow, it won’t change their position at the top of the table. They possess a great mentality and won’t be thinking about Monaco, especially after what happened in last week’s game.

    “The Bianconeri are enjoying a fantastic season in both Italy and Europe - I’d like to tip my hat off to them and their boss Allegri."

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