Angelo Ogbonna believes his impressive introduction to the campaign is down to specific improvements he has made to his game over the summer and increased chances to shine under Massimiliano Allegri.
Injuries to Andrea Barzagli and Martin Caceres in recent weeks have seen the 26-year-old asked to operate in an unorthodox position on the right of the back three – and it is an opportunity he has seized with both hands.
Speaking exclusively to Sky, Ogbonna began: “It’s been a great start, not just for myself, but also for the team as a whole. I’m standing out a little bit more than I did last season. I’ve perhaps improved a tad concentration wise and also in understanding the type of attitude required out on the pitch.
“The system also helps me a great deal. It’s inevitable that playing more regularly gives you greater opportunities to show what you can do.”
Ogbonna’s displays in Serie A’s joint strongest rearguard led to a deserved call-up by former club boss Antonio Conte for Italy’s recent Euro 2016 qualification double-header against Azerbaijan and Malta.
“I don’t think international caps are just dished out to anybody, only those deserving of the call receive it. In recent times a few of my positive outings have made the new coach’s decision an easy one to make.”
Returning to league matters, the defender, who joined from inter-city rivals Torino in 2013, says the Bianconeri will be kept on their toes throughout the campaign by an “excellent” Roma outfit.
“Roma are an excellent side who have strengthened since last season thanks to decent work in the transfer market designed to prepare them for the Champions League.”
In order to keep building on a three-point advantage over the Giallorossi, Juventus must maintain their upward trajectory by claiming a win when they square up with Sassuolo on Saturday night at the Mapei Stadium.
Crucial aspects, in the eyes of Ogbonna, are the team’s abilities to constantly look ahead to the next hurdle and show each opponent the respect they deserve.
He concluded: “Our strength is down to the fact that we always focus on the next game coming, not the one that’s just gone. We know we can’t underestimate any side we face. We need to play our game and try and concede as few goals as possible. We’re only at the start of the season, there’s a long way to go.”