21.01.2016 16:30 - in: Serie A S

    Simone sets sights on Sunday

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    Simone Zaza reflects on Wednesday’s conquering of the Stadio Olimpico, buying into the Juventus mentality and continuing his side’s winning run against Roma on Sunday

    After registering a 12th consecutive victory, Lazio the latest to fall victim to the Juventus winning machine, it was business as usual for the champions in Vinovo this morning as attentions quickly turned to the small matter of Sunday’s Serie A showdown with Roma.

    One man joining his colleagues in a well-deserved warm down session in the gym after last night’s efforts was Simone Zaza, arguably more in need than others following another typically hard-working and committed performance from the ex-Sassuolo striker.

    After a performance of grit and determination that drew the praise of coach Massimiliano Allegri and pundits alike, the fearless frontman had mixed emotions however when sitting down with Jtv this afternoon.

    Yes, the Bianconeri had “conquered the Olimpico” and secured their place in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia for the fourth time in five seasons but such is Simone’s disarming humility and desire to improve, there were still lingering regrets on the mind of the 24-year-old when discussing last night’s encounter.

    “Last night was just missing more goals and for that I should take some of the blame,” he began. “I should have done better with the chances that came my way but the important thing is that we won the match.

    “I am delighted with the result because we now have a semi-final to think about, the first of my career, and we conquered the Olimpico for the second time this season.” 

    Few neutral observers however would join Zaza in criticising his efforts in front of goal, rightly choosing instead to focus on the forward’s selfless and tireless work off the ball, an aspect of his game that is fast making the striker a fan favourite among the Bianconeri faithful.

    And, on another night, Juve’s most consistent marksmen this season would have added an eighth goal to his collection had his superb curling shot been placed an inch further inside Etrit Berisha’s far post. Nevertheless, the Italy international can still look back proudly on his first five months as a Juventus player. 

    "I have worked hard in the last few months and have learnt a lot from my team-mates. It is normal to struggle at first when you make the step up to a massive club like Juventus but I always have my eyes on improving as much as I can.

    “My favourite goal? Any goal you score for Juventus is special. The one that stands out the most in mind though is my strike against Sevilla because it was my first ever in Europe. The double in the Derby (in the previous round) was also pretty memorable for me.”

    That said, the hard work does not stop there for Zaza and co. particularly not with “undoubtedly one of the strongest sides in the league” lying in wait on Sunday night, a tie that should go in Juve’s favour should they “maintain (their) winning mentality” of previous weeks.

    He concluded, “After the defeat against Sassuolo there was a shift in our mentality. Just like so many young players before me, I had not truly understood what it meant to play for Juventus. Our season swung on that result and now we are a completely different team.

    “Roma will always give you a tough game. They will be chomping at the bit to get one over on us on Sunday as it has been Juventus that has stood between them and the Scudetto on so many occasions.

    “If we stay focused and play our own game then we will bring home the three points.”

    As has been demonstrated so far this season, Simone Zaza is rarely wide of the mark.


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