Juventus
    Juventus
      18.03.2016 16:30 - in: Serie A S

      Bonucci: "Back to business at the Olimpico"

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      Far from derailing Juventus’ season, Leonardo Bonucci believes Wednesday’s European defeat will inspire the Bianconeri to a successful derby day and triumphant conclusion to the campaign

      Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 defeat to Bayern Munich was tough to take for anyone of a Bianconero persuasion, but with this Sunday’s Derby Della Mole against Torino, Juventus have the opportunity to put the disappointment well and truly behind them.

      Sharing his post-Munich and pre-Toro thoughts with the Sky Sports Italia cameras this afternoon, this was exactly the view of Leonardo Bonucci two days after Juve’s European exit and just as many before the resumption of their title push.

      For Leo, while last season’s finalists were worthy of a place in today’s draw for the last eight based on their performance alone at the Allianz Arena, their midweek reverse will only serve as inspiration for the remainder of the campaign that still may yield a second consecutive domestic double.

      Beginning with a final look back to Wednesday’s action, he began, “Our performance was one of a top team and based on that, we deserved to be in the last eight of the Champions League. Matches like that are always likely to swing on one single moment and that’s what happened in Munich. In football, these things happen and you have to move on.

      “It’s important now that we keep focused on the improvements we’ve made recently on all fronts. The Juve of last season was one founded on experience and but this one is built on genuine quality and we are only likely to grow further.

      “Losing was a tough blow to take but a necessary one for our development as a team. I was proud to be a Juventus player at full-time; even if we were eliminated, our attitude was first class.”

      @gianluigibuffon: "I am very proud of the team we are." #BeHeroes #FCBJuve #UCL #FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve #JuveToday #InstaJuve

      A photo posted by Juventus Football Club (@juventus) on

      Credit for the team’s combative and aggressive showing obviously must go to the players but Bonucci believes that a large part is also owed to coach Massimiliano Allegri whose faith in his players “gives everyone the opportunity in all aspects of the game.”

      “As well as being a fine tactician, he also pushes every one of us to improve not only with the ball at our feet but in any way possible. As a player, that is exactly what you want.”

      Looking ahead to a tantalising return to Serie A and the crucial nine remaining fixtures of the domestic calendar, Juve’s number 19 is confident that neither this week’s mental nor physical exertions will have an effect on the outcome of Sunday’s 141st Derby Della Mole let alone on his team’s focus between now and May.

      “We’ve trained since the start of the season to be able to handle playing once every three days and that means having the necessary mental and physical reserves to bounce back after disappointments like Wednesday night’s.

      "Our objective now is to first win the Scudetto and then head to Rome with another domestic double still on the cards.”

      The symmetry and coincidental nature of this weekend’s derby certainly was not to be lost on Leo who concluded proceedings with a reminder of the importance of the first clash between the Old Lady and Toro earlier in the season.

      Having bounced back from defeat to Sassuolo – their last in the league since October – with a last-gasp victory over their old rivals at Juventus Stadium just days later, a third derby triumph on Sunday would equally serve as the perfect antidote to their recent European exit.

      “We’ll tackle the derby with the same hunger that has set us apart from the chasing pack in the last four years. On Sunday, we will need to put our pride on the shelf, start afresh and prove that we have learnt from our mistakes by putting in a strong showing at the Olimpico.

      “In a way we are fortunate to have this chance to bounce back against Torino of all teams as it was the derby in October that set us off on this magnificent league run in the first place.”

      For Bonucci, the Bianconeri are fortunate too to rely on the services of Gianluigi Buffon.

      “We’ll give everything to help Gigi achieve his record. He’s the best goalkeeper in the history of the game and we want to aid him not only in surpassing it but also sustaining it beyond Sunday afternoon.”

      A Buffon record and a return to winning ways would be quite the conclusion to an emotional week.

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