As a former Juventus player himself, there isn’t much Fiorentina coach Paulo Sousa doesn’t know about the league-leaders or indeed the intensity and importance of this fixture to both sets of Bianconeri and Viola supporters.
Previewing Sunday’s potentially decisive encounter at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, Sousa warned his players that they will need to produce their best performance of the season so far if they are to earn a positive result against Massimiliano Allegri’s men.
“From the fans right down to the players, we want to win this game,” he began. “That said, we know that we will have to play at 110 per cent if we are to do so.
“You shouldn’t have to overthink a fixture like this: all that matters is the three points and the chance to do this shirt and this city proud. If we play to the best of our abilities and approach the match with the right spirit, we can still obtain a positive outcome.”
Standing before his fifth-placed side however is one of Europe’s most in-form teams and one that is now within touching distance of making history. For the Portuguese coach, this season’s critic-defying comeback from the Bianconeri is merely the latest demonstration of the club’s relentless desire to win.
He concluded, “Juventus’ figures over the past few months have been remarkable. They are unique in the way that they produce results like this: their entire history is built on success and that has the power to pull them through adversity.
“If a poor run of form does come their way, they know how to turn it around. In Allegri, they have a coach who is excellent in keeping his players focused and primed over the course of an entire season. What else can you say? They are natural-born winners.”