22.01.2016 09:00 - in: S

    Grosso previews crunch derby encounter

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    Primavera coach Fabio Grosso urges his side to take Saturday’s derby encounter with Torino by the scruff of the neck and cement their place at the league’s summit

    Whether at senior or junior level, few games can match the anticipation, energy and excitement of a local derby, not least when it concerns the league’s current leaders, Juventus and the reigning champions, Torino.

    Luckily, in world champion Fabio Grosso, scorer of Italy’s crucial opening goal in the 2006 semi-final against Germany and the taker of the decisive penalty in the tournament’s showpiece, the Bianconeri’s Primavera young guns can count on a head coach who knows all about getting results when the pressure is on.

    Such experience of the big occasion will only serve to improve the mettle of Juve’s academy youngsters then as they look to build on an excellent first half of the season that sees them top the table at the midway point.

    What’s more, Saturday’s encounter (13.00 CET kick-off) with local rivals Torino will present Grosso’s side with a fine opportunity to reassert their title credentials and extend their lead at the summit. 

    Speaking to Jtv about the weekend and campaign ahead, the former wing-back was in doubt as to the qualities of his team to do just that in Vinovo tomorrow but only if they succeed in transferring their undoubted potential into another strong showing on the pitch and attack their opponents from the very first whistle.

    Fabio began, “We want to make our mark on the tie: Torino are an excellent side and reigning champions but we know how good we can be on our day and it is just a matter of channeling our potential and confidence into a strong performance on Saturday.

    “We started the season strongly, following exactly the path that we want to be on. We’re improving and growing as a team and we want to continue the way we have been playing recently.”

    On the eve of one of the most important games of the season, a talented and in-form squad is not the only factor in favour of Grosso’s charges however, as the league leaders are yet to drop a single point home hence far and enter tomorrow afternoon’s match on the back of seven consecutive victories, a run that ironically began against Sassuolo in November.

    For coach Grosso, that unrivalled winning streak has been the result of not only his team’s individual and collective qualities but more importantly, a fighting spirit and desire to succeed that was not present in the season’s early months.

    “We didn’t play particularly well against Fiorentina but we showed a resilience and determination to grind out the result that I had not seen from the boys up until that point.

    “To be honest, I wouldn’t say I have a favourite game from the first half of the season: we’ve put in some mixed performances, some excellent, some not quite as good but we’re learning together with every match in victory and in defeat.”

    As demonstrated by the club’s senior side in Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Lazio, it will take the same grit and determination to ensure the Primavera stay in the hunt for silverware on more than one front. 

    And, looking beyond Saturday’s encounter, Grosso and co. have the requisite desire to end the season as more than just league champions with some unsettled scores to resolve in the Coppa Italia after a disappointing early exit last year.

    “The Coppa Italia is our other goal. We want to go as far as we can particularly since we were undeservedly knocked out by Lazio in last year’s semi-final,” he concluded.

    “The boys have the desire to correct their mistakes and to push for honours. We have a great squad, with some excellent prospects but more importantly we’re growing together as a team.”

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