Juventus’ eight goals scored may have grabbed the headlines in this season’s Coppa Italia, but just as important to the side’s success so far in the competition have been the three clean sheets kept by Neto and company, making them the only team left in the tournament yet to have conceded in any of the rounds.
The Brazilian keeper has been aided in no small part by a defence that had prevented both Torino and Lazio from fashioning a single shot on target in the last-16 and quarter-final respectively. Nonetheless, he stayed on his toes when called upon to make saves from Felipe Melo’s early effort and Jeison Murillo’s dangerous header in the second half of yesterday’s 3-0 win over Inter in their semi-final first leg.
If ever one needed an example of how high concentration levels can make the difference, the aforementioned blocks were certainly good ones and characteristic of the good work that has led to the Bianconeri stringing together 14 consecutive victories in domestic competitions.
Speaking to Jtv the day after his side’s success at home to the Nerazzurri, Neto urged his team-mates to keep playing in the same vein in order to extend their cup run beyond the second leg scheduled for 2 March at the San Siro.
“Last night’s win was a crucial one, because winning the Coppa Italia is one of our objectives this term. We’ve built a commanding lead, but we can’t afford to take our foot off the gas at all in the return match, where we can expect a tough battle.
“Our approach then needs to be the same as yesterday’s and indeed every time we step out on the field. We’ve had no easy games so far in this year’s competition, having faced a derby, a tricky tie in Rome and then Inter, but by maintaining the right mentality, we can continue to achieve great things.”