Although acknowledging that his Udinese team will be facing “one of Europe’s best” in Juventus tomorrow evening, Stefano Colantuono was in confident mood as he spoke to the press on the eve of the game, adding that to succeed at the home of the Italian champions, attack is the best form of defence.
Previewing the encounter, he began: “We’ll stick to our guns tomorrow and go into the game looking to impose ourselves on the match. The most important thing for me is a strong performance from my team, regardless of the result. I’ll be telling the boys to give their all and to play without fear because if you go to Juventus Stadium to defend, you will lose.”
Despite backing his side to make their mark on the meeting at Juventus Stadium, Colantuono was under no illusions as to the strength of Massimiliano Allegri’s men. Notwithstanding departures of important players, the Zebrette boss believes Juventus are still as strong as ever thanks to the club’s attitude and performances on and off the field.
“Some important players have left the team but they have recruited well. At board-level, they are a club that makes very few mistakes and that attitude permeates every member of their playing squad. We are well prepared from a tactical point of view but ultimately it is Juventus’ spirit and aggression that makes them so difficult to beat.”
Despite the absence of midfielder Guilherme, who misses tomorrow’s game with “a muscular problem,” Colantuono was confident in the depth of his squad and the abilities of Alexander Merkel, Giampiero Pinzi and new arrival Manuel Iturra, who are in the frame to fill in for the Brazilian.
«Pinzi and Iturra are certainly in my thoughts but Merkel has been knocking on the door too. They all bring something different to the table so deciding tomorrow’s eleven won’t be straightforward.”
Another debut could be in the offing as Napoli loanee Duvan Zapata is firmly in Colantuono’s plans for the coming season, although his new boss admitted the Colombian may not feature for the full 90 minutes at this early stage of the campaign.
“We’re easing Duvan into the new campaign, so he did not play the whole game in the Coppa Italia last week. As soon as he is match fit, he’ll be one of my key forwards since he is a very talented player and we’ll be needing him this season.”
Rounding off his meeting with the media, the Udinese coach took the time to praise Juventus’ versatile midfielder Simone Padoin, a player with whom he worked at Atalanta.
“I have some wonderful memories with Padoin. He is a very flexible player and it is no coincidence that he continues to play a big part for Juventus. He is someone that every manager would love to have in their squad for his mentality on and off the field and for his versatility.”