With the Bianconeri achieving their third successive title last season, Andrea Barzagli says the Juventus squad are eager to carry on the winning trend under new manager Massimiliano Allegri.
A heel injury has kept Barzagli sidelined throughout the Bianconeri’s pre-season as well as the 2014/15 Serie A opener against Chievo, but the Italian defender provides a timely boost for the side when he is due to return after this international break.
Speaking on Jtv’s ‘Filo Diretto’, the 33-year-old said: "It’s always hard watching your team-mates whilst you’re on the sidelines but I’m feeling good and confident that I hope to be out on the pitch with them very soon!
“After an operation like this, there’s always a long timeframe before you can return. We’re monitoring the situation every day but it’s been so far so good.”
Saturday’s win in Verona was Allegri’s first competitive win in the Bianconeri hotseat and Barzagli was full of praise for his boss: “I've so far experienced three wonderful years at this club and we're working well with Allegri and you can see that Saturday's result showed that the work is starting to pay off.
"It’s the same Juve full of a burgeoning desire to carry on winning and we want to show that. The boss has implemented new ideas and it's important for us to carry on with the same hunger that brought us three consecutive titles."
Barzagli, who is now in his fourth full season at the club, also talked tactics and in particular whether he preferred the new idea of a back-four or to remain with three in defence: "We all began our careers in football with the customary four in defence, and then we changed to a back three a few years ago and it’s brought out the best of us.
“It truly depends on the player’s mentality. I’ve always said that organising in defence as a collective is crucial seeing that if one indivual makes a mistake, there will always be another of your team-mates to help you out.”
The opening round of Serie A matches gave much food for thought on all the teams who would be contesting for the title and the Italian international went on to discuss the Bianconeri’s competitors for Italy’s big prize: “Roma continues to be the team that everyone is wary of but the other sides have strengthened during the transfer window.
“Inter brought in a few experienced players whilst Milan has somewhat shaken up their squad, and with Inzaghi’s arrival, they could do well this season. Even Lazio have made some shrewd acquisitions but time will tell who can go the distance, it’s too early to pick out a dark horse.”
With the Bianconeri having discovered their Champions League opponents last week, the defender echoed his manager’s sentiments with regards to the team’s first objective for the competition: "Our aim is to advance [from the group stages]. Even though every game is tough and concentration is key, we want to improve on last year’s run. You can’t take any opponent for granted.
“We can also follow Atletico Madrid’s example on how to fare well in the Champions League as they did last season.”
Barzagli concluded proceedings with a quick look ahead to the first match of the new season at Juventus Stadium against Udinese next Saturday: “They’ll come and give us a good game and as always, we can’t afford to let our guard down.”