Visits to the San Siro always represent big games, but Andrea Barzagli was quick to underline the added importance of taking home a positive result from this Sunday’s match away to Inter.
Roberto Mancini’s men have started the season strongly, sitting in second place with 16 points, twice as many as the Bianconeri, and Barzagli stressed that they could not afford to concede any further ground in their hunt for a fifth successive title.
Speaking to Sky Sport, the defender began: “Inter on Sunday is a key match, especially for us. We need to get a positive result if we want to continue our ascent up the table. It’s essential that we put in a strong performance and do not leave empty-handed. It’s still early days but an eight-point difference is big enough and it would be tough (-) going if they were to win.”
The 34-year-old is keen to build upon the Bianconeri’s recent pair of victories recorded against Sevilla and Bologna respectively, stressing the need to stay focused at all times, especially in terms of preventing the opposition scoring from their first shots on goal, as has happened in four league games already this season.
“We’re getting better and played two good matches, but there’s still areas that we need to work on. The fact that we’ve conceded from our opponents’ maiden attempts on goal means that we’ve suffered lapses in concentration and we need to cut these out of our game.”
Wrapping up the interview, Barzagli poured praise on young defender Daniele Rugani, the 21-year-old back in Vinovo after captaining Italy’s Under 21s to a third straight victory in their qualifying group for 2017’s European championships in Poland.
“He’s alert, professional and learns a lot from the more experienced members of our rearguard. He has a great desire to improve and possesses plenty of potential. This year I expect him to develop further and grow into an important player both for Juventus and possibly the national side as well.”