“Stopping a team like Juventus is never easy. When they are on top form, the strength and depth of their squad really come to the fore but we’re quietly confident we can give them a good game on Sunday. Tomorrow will be an enjoyable fixture for all involved.”
When quizzed on his side’s chances at the Renzo Barbera tomorrow night, this was the opening gambit of Palermo boss Davide Ballardini at his pre-match press conference this morning.
Ballardini, returning to the Rosanero bench last weekend for the first time since 2009, was in no doubt as to the scale of the challenge facing his team on Sunday yet had a clear idea in his mind to stifle the Bianconeri.
“We’ll have to take last week’s performance up another level, maintain the good spirit we have in the camp at the moment, play a solid 90 minutes and give them as little space as possible in which to play.
“The key for us tomorrow will be our attitude and how we go about ensuring that we don’t concede and give Juve a real test. We’ll need the crowd to be 100 per cent behind us. In a tough game like this, they can be the 12th man for us.”
Naturally, the line of interrogation moved to a certain Paulo Dybala, a player Ballardini “would have loved to coach.”
“It’s a real shame that our Palermo paths did not cross. Paulo is one of those players that gets fans off their seats and makes you fall in love with the game all over again.
“He’s an excellent professional and he is right where he deserves to be, at a big club like Juventus.”
And how does the Rosanero coach propose to stop him?
“Our defenders and midfielders are more than up to the task but it won’t be easy, given his quality on and off the ball. If we can limit the spaces in around the box tomorrow night, we’ll be doing well.”