19.10.2015 16:38 - in: Serie A S

      #InterJuve: Opportunity spurned for Bonucci

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      Though disappointed by yesterday’s 0-0 draw with Inter at the San Siro, Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci praises the spirit of his team-mates and is ready for the fight ahead

      A solid performance and a clean sheet to boot, there were plenty of positives to take away from last night’s 0-0 draw with Inter at the San Siro but one man with his glass half-empty today was Leonardo Bonucci.

      Speaking to Sky and Mediaset this afternoon, Bonucci viewed yesterday’s match more as a matter of two points dropped than one gained for the Bianconeri as they look to close the gap on Serie A’s cluster of early leaders.

      The defender began: “There were mixed feelings for us in the dressing room afterwards. We had the chance to win the game but unfortunately we just weren’t clinical enough.

      “Overall, though, we looked very solid thanks to (Simone) Zaza, (Alvaro) Morata and our midfield’s great pressing from the front. That kind of hard work has served us well down the years and it went a long way to stifling Inter’s dangerous attacking players last night.

      “We perhaps could have posed more of a threat in their penalty area, at times we just lacked the killer final ball, but yesterday we demonstrated that when we play intelligently and do our defensive duties as a unit, the only way for us is up.”

      The remedy for Leo then? Greater concentration, ruthlessness in front of goal and a continuation of the team spirit and willingness to work hard for the team as shown on Sunday night in Milan against Roberto Mancini’s men.  

      “What we do need to improve on is our concentration and maintain it from the first minute right up to the last. Each defensive mistake and every missed chance comes down to momentary lapses of focus.

      “As well as that, we must remember that to honour this jersey you must fight right until the end of every game. Now’s not the time to be thinking about the league title, we’re in fourteenth place so all we can do is work hard to win each match as it comes.”

      While there are undoubtedly lessons to be learned from reflecting on Juve’s slow start to the domestic season, with six games in 20 days on the horizon, the more pressing concern for Bonucci is to look forward to the challenges ahead.

      While Borussia Monchengladbach, high-flyers Sassuolo and local rivals Torino lie in wait in the coming weeks, the 28-year-old is confident the Bianconeri will be in a strong position come the next international break.

      "Our goals are simple: to reach the Champions League knockout round and to close the gap on the leaders in Serie A."

      Leonardo Bonucci 19/10/2015

      “There’s no use getting hung up on the points we’ve dropped, instead we need to get our heads up and look forwards knowing that we can and will improve.

      "Our goals for the next few months are simple: to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages and to close the gap on the leaders in Serie A. We’re still missing that special something but we won’t be making excuses for ourselves.

      “Winning (on Wednesday) would be a massive step for us but anything can happen in the Champions League. Perhaps in the league there is a greater pressure on us to force the issue but in Europe it’s a different ball game.

      "So far the Champions League has brought out the best from us, as you saw against Manchester City and Sevilla. Borussia have come back well after a slow start and we’re expecting a tough game. They will look to hurt us on the counter-attack so we need to be well organized at the back.”

      The next month could have a significant say in Leo’s ambitions for the campaign ahead though one thing is for certain: the Juve stopper is not one to shirk from a challenge. For the Italy international, now is the time to knuckle down and fight for the shirt.

      He concluded: “I renewed my contract at Juventus because I have great belief in this project and in this team to sustain its success from previous years. For now, we need to put our pride on the shelf and fight for the jersey.”

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