12 March 2016
When you approach the closing stages of a league season and the hope of winning every trophy available is still very much alive, the ability to switch focus from one competition to the next and maintain the same level of determination and drive becomes more important than ever.
Throughout the past few months and indeed the previous four seasons, Claudio Marchisio has consistently demonstrated that both he and the Juventus sides in which he plays a significant part are prime exponents of the qualities required to be competitive on every front whether it be Serie A, the Coppa Italia or the Champions League.
Speaking to Sky Sports Italia and Mediaset just hours after contributing to an 18th victory in 19 league outings, the Bianconeri’s number 8 confirmed that finally now is the time for full attention to be turned to Wednesday’s decisive Champions League last 16 second-leg showdown with Bayern Munich.
For the Bianconero academy graduate, Juve’s second-half showing in Turin last month was proof of not only their capabilities of eliminating one of the tournament’s favourites next week but also of having the necessary mentality to power home to a fifth successive Scudetto crown.
From what can be learnt from that Juventus Stadium encounter and what to expect from Massimiliano Allegri’s men in Munich to a potentially difficult domestic run-in, here is a selection of the key quotes from Marchisio’s meeting with the media this morning:
“Bayern are an excellent side but our revival this season and the way we have improved in Europe in the last few years show that we are too.
There is plenty to learn from the first leg: we saw firsthand just how good they are but the second half proved that we have what it takes to reach the quarter-finals. Overturning a two-goal deficit like that was no mean feat.”
Where Wednesday will be won and lost
“You shouldn’t need motivating for matches like this and we have to put the emotion to one side and make sure we play a perfect 90 minutes.
“People often say that games are won and lost in midfield but in an encounter as important as this one with quality players all over the field, it won’t be quite as simple as that on Wednesday night. We both have brilliant squads who want to win every competition possible.
“They have the upper hand from the first leg so we know that we can’t simply sit back and play for a draw. We have to go to Munich looking to win and while it would represent a shock result, we know it is not an impossible task nonetheless.”
“If it were the case that our desire to win every week in Serie A had diminished and we were focusing our efforts solely on the Champions League, then we would not have won four consecutive league titles.
“The way in which we turned our poor start to the campaign around demonstrates the mentality of not only the squad but also the club as a whole.
“We put our heads together and managed to find a solution and credit for that must go to the guys who have been here for a long time as well as our new arrivals in the summer.
“Having become accustomed to success in previous years, the level of criticism we received was difficult to take but coming through that difficult period has only redoubled our resolve to achieve our goals for the year."
The road to the finish line
“We have two very tough away fixtures to play against Fiorentina and Milan but there is still plenty of football to be played; even if Napoli drop points here and there they will still push us all the way to the line. We know how the exertions required to win a fifth successive Scudetto and we couldn’t be more focused.”
“Next weekend’s derby is coming at an interesting time; we will head into the game on the back of a gruelling run of fixtures while Torino have been in poor form of late. Things like this rarely matter in a local derby though and facing il Toro in their backyard is always difficult regardless of the circumstances.
“We have two very tough away fixtures to play against Fiorentina and Milan but there is still plenty of football to be played; even if Napoli drop points here and there they will still push us all the way to the line. We know the exertions required to win a fifth successive Scudetto and we couldn’t be more focused.”
From Buffon's brilliance...
“Even though he is still four minutes short of the record, what Gianluigi has achieved is nothing short of incredible. We can be proud of ourselves as a team too; while 99 per cent of the credit is deservedly his, we are happy to have been able to contribute that additional one per cent by protecting his goal as best we can.
“Gigi is such a key figure for us not only for what he does on the field but as a captain, a leader and a presence in the dressing room. His professionalism and desire to keep improving is still there for everyone to see.”
... to Juve young guns
“Paulo started his time with us by scoring in the Super Cup final in Shanghai and following it up with a spell in and out of the team to get him prepared for what lay ahead. He has worked terrifically well and I am not at all surprised by what he has done so far this season: the moment I met him after the Champions League final I knew that he had the mindset of a top class player.
“We always expect the world from Paul and he knows that more than anyone. He still has lots of room to improve and he would be the first to tell you that. All the same he is still a massive and decisive part of our team.”