03.01.2016 17:30 - in: Serie A S

    Khedira set on winning start to 2016

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    Sami Khedira underlines the importance of beating Verona on Wednesday: “It will be a tough match, but we’re at home, we’ve had a good week’s training and we’re very focused on the task at hand”

    Juventus have never lost this term whenever Sami Khedira has played. Indeed, they have almost always taken maximum points with him on the pitch, winning eight matches and drawing twice, scoring 22 goals and conceding just six times over these ten fixtures.

    The German midfielder, however, was quick to attribute these statistics to the growth of the whole squad, who emerged victorious in nine of their last ten games in all competitions before the Christmas break.

    Analysing the season so far, Khedira began: “It was a difficult start for the team and also for me because I was new here, then I got injured, which kept me out for two months. Results were not going well in Serie A. Our Champions League campaign was progressing quite well and then eventually our domestic form improved too. We are now in a much stronger situation than in the summer.

    “The most important thing now is that the team keeps pushing on to win more matches. As we have seen in recent games in the league, we are all playing with more confidence, we’re set up better tactically, we score more goals and concede less.

    “I think it’s normal that we took a bit of time to get going, after changing so many players, but now we’ve all settled in, we’re performing well and getting results regardless of who is on the pitch.”

    Next up on the fixture list for Khedira and company is Wednesday’s home encounter against Hellas Verona at Juventus Stadium and the 28-year-old is adamant that the Bianconeri need to secure what would be their eighth league success on the bounce in order to keep closing the gap on first-placed Inter and eventually occupy top spot themselves – an objective that the Germany international is optimistic his side can achieve.

    “We’ve trained very hard since returning from our holidays last Tuesday. We’ve done a lot of running and tactical work which will stand us in good stead for the second part of the season.

    “On Wednesday we have a tough match, as it’s the first one after the Christmas break, but it’s one which we need to win in order to keep up the pressure on Inter at the top of the table. We’re also at home which perhaps makes victory even more important, but we’ve had a good week’s training, we’re very focused on the task at hand and so I’m optimistic about our chances of taking maximum points.

    “In previous seasons, I’ve only ever followed Serie A on TV, but this year it certainly strikes me as a very competitive division with other strong teams like Inter, Napoli and Fiorentina all doing well. That said, I am convinced that, if we continue to play the way we have done over the last seven league games, then we can overtake them to finish in first place.”

    Meanwhile, in the Champions League, Khedira admitted that he was very excited to be taking on Bayern Munich in the last 16 and backed the Bianconeri to progress in the competition if they can hit top form over the two-legged tie.

    “It’s a great game for the clubs and fans alike. Beating Bayern is obviously a very, very difficult challenge, but not impossible. They are, without doubt, one of the best teams in the world, but, then again, we are also a strong side. Over the course of the two matches, if we can play to the best of our abilities and maintain concentration throughout, then I think we’ve a chance of reaching the next round.”

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