21 February 2016
Patrice Evra says the power of positive thought will be crucial if the Bianconeri are to topple Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich over two legs of Champions League football.
The defender acknowledges the Bavarians head into the last 16 tie as favourites but cites the Juventus Stadium effect and team spirit as two factors that swing in the favour of Massimiliano Allegri’s team ahead of Tuesday’s first meeting in Turin.
Speaking to the media from Vinovo, the French full-back began: “I’m sure that we can pull off a great result, but we’ll require everyone to play their part. We’ll need Juventus Stadium to be bouncing and everyone giving off positive vibes.
“It’s important to play with intelligence, personality, respect and be fearless in our approach. If a team-mate gives the ball away we need to think that it might be our fault for not giving him enough options.
“The psychological aspect is what matters in these games. You need to be relaxed and look to enjoy the occasion as much as you can, otherwise you go out and feel like you’re playing in a 20 kilo jacket.
“From what I’ve seen in training I’m perfectly relaxed. Bayern are favourites, but I’ve got plenty of belief in my team-mates and I think that if you asked Guardiola and his players if they think we’ll be an easy side to face, they’d say no.”
One of many intriguing sub plots surrounding the game is the potential return of Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic, who enjoyed two goal-laden seasons with Bayern between 2012 and 2014.
Evra is adamant that the presence of the towering Croatian forward can only be a plus for the Bianconeri, and is certain any affection for his former club will be firmly placed to one side once he crosses the white line.
He added: “Mario will want to hurt Bayern. He’ll have a different hunger and motivation to us. When he’s out there I’ve never seen a defender leave the field of play having had an easy ride, because Mario does a really important job for the team.”