The Swiss defender previews Thursday’s crunch semi-final return leg: “We can’t allow ourselves to be overexposed and get caught on the counter, but our second-half performance gives us room for optimism”
Stephan Lichtsteiner has urged the Bianconeri to replicate their strong second-half showing in Lisbon when they meet Benfica in Thursday’s decisive Europa League semi-final return leg at Juventus Stadium.
The Swiss defender believes the team’s added bite in the final third enabled them to fashion a host of chances during the second period at the Estadio da Luz, but remains wary of the pitfalls associated with allowing the Eagles space in which to break.
Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, the 30-year-old began: “Our second half display gives us room for optimism because we created a great deal. Perhaps we lacked a bit of aggression and conceded two goals when we weren’t on our guard.
“We can’t allow ourselves to be overexposed if we want to avoid being caught on the counter. It’s important we remain focused on this particular aspect.”
Styling the Bianconeri’s battle plan for the crunch fixture will be Antonio Conte, the man who led the team to their 30th success from 35 Serie A games in last night’s significant 3-1 win over Sassuolo.
And with Juventus on the cusp of wrapping up a third consecutive Scudetto success, Lichtsteiner reiterated the importance of getting over the line as soon as possible.
“It’s important to have a manager like him who always manages to get 100 per cent out of you. It’s as if he’s running alongside us on the pitch. The Scudetto isn’t won yet, we need two more points and want to put the title race to bed. You need to take your hat off to Roma though, they’ve had a truly excellent campaign.”
Conte’s decision to introduce Lichtsteiner to the fray at the Mapei Stadium proved an inspired one, with the Swiss international providing a timely assist for Fernando Llorente to secure all three points in the final stages.
Reflecting on his contribution, he concluded: “It’s not the first time I’ve set Fernando up, but the most important thing is that the goal decided the game and we won. Fernando and Tevez are two top players, I hope for their sake they’re able to go to Brazil.”