Juventus
    Juventus
      29.01.2016 17:30 - in: Serie A S

      Barzagli hails return of Juve spirit

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      Andrea Barzagli chats winning runs, overhauling Napoli at the top of the table and February’s titanic clash with Bayern Munich

      There are many things that you expect to see from a Bianconeri side, an impenetrable rearguard, an excellent team spirit and an unwavering desire to win to name but a few.

      One man that embodies all three of those characteristics is Andrea Barzagli and the experienced defender believes that, on the back of 11 consecutive league wins, Massimiliano Allegri’s men have rediscovered what it means to pull on the black and white jersey.

      Speaking to Sky this afternoon, he began, “We’re back to playing in a way that you would expect to see from a Juventus team and we always believed that we would turn things around. That said, even we were not expecting to go on such a great winning streak.

      At the end of the day, the most important thing beyond any records is that we have recaptured that ruthless mentality that has made this club what it is.”

      For Barzagli, as well as for a host of other Bianconeri to have commented on the Old Lady’s magnificent form before him, the secret is simple. 

      Contrary to the start of the season, characterised by disjointed performances and the absence of several key players, Massimiliano Allegri’s men now have the confidence, concentration and collective spirit to enter any game believing they will emerge victorious.

      “At the beginning of the term we struggled if three of four key players were missing, but now we know that whatever team the manager puts out, we have the confidence to win any game. We are in great form all over the field from the strikers and the midfielders to us defenders.

      “The boss has called for calm and level heads and he is absolutely spot on. We can’t afford to think about what we have achieved or even assume the next game will bring another victory. We need to focus on each match as it comes and approach it with the utmost concentration.”

      The next appointment for “the Wall” and company is of course Sunday’s Serie A trip to mid-table Chievo, the latest in an increasingly congested fixture list for the reigning champions as they approach the business end of their domestic and European campaigns.

      “Sunday’s game against Chievo won’t be easy and we will need to be at our very best to return with all three points. Let’s not forget that we are still only second in the table. If we want to overtake Napoli and make top spot our own then we can’t allow ourselves to drop points anywhere.

      “From now on, any side that puts a good run together will automatically put themselves in the Scudetto picture.”

      So while the games continue to come thick and fast – Juve will have played seven times in the space of three weeks by the time they travel to Frosinone on 7 February – the small matter of a Champions League last 16 tie with Bayern Munich continues to loom ever larger on the horizon.

      As expected, however, the Italy international would not be found looking that far ahead, whatever the importance of the encounter in the context of the Bianconeri’s season.

      He concluded, “We’re not thinking about the Champions League yet. There will be plenty of time to prepare for our match with Bayern but, for now, there are plenty of big games in the league for us to focus on. What I will say is that on paper neither side will be pleased with the draw.

      “From our point of view we are facing one of Europe’s best while from theirs, we were arguably the strongest of the second-placed group-stage teams.

      “To become a consistent threat on the continent you need to experience massive ties like this one on a regular basis. We demonstrated both last season and this term, with exception of the Sevilla match, that we have the right mentality to compete at the very highest level.

      “Whatever is said beforehand, the question of who is the better side will only be answered out on the pitch.”

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