It was his running and trickery which brought about the Bianconeri’s penalty, converted by Alvaro Morata for Juve’s first goal in their Coppa Italia semi-final against Inter, and which ultimately led to Jeison Murillo’s dismissal, after the Nerazzurri defender twice tripped up the fleet-footed Colombian.
Juan Cuadrado had not started a match since December’s away win against Carpi, but his performance on Wednesday evening will have reminded manager Massimiliano Allegri, if he needed it, of the winger’s ability to turn a match on its head.
Speaking after his team’s 3-0 win, the 27-year-old praised the team effort behind the victory, while vowing to keep working hard regardless of how much game time he was being afforded at present.
He began: “First and foremost, it’s a great result. All of us put in tremendous shifts. We always need to enter matches with a winning mentality. We need to keep calm, take each game at a time and be aware that we’ve not won anything yet.
“As far as I’m concerned, I always give 100 per cent in training in order to be in peak condition for when the manager needs me, whether it’s for 90 or only ten minutes.
“I’m looking to enjoy every game. I hadn’t played for a while and I told myself to be happy on the pitch and make the most of when I get my opportunity on the field.”
Tonight’s triumph over Roberto Mancini’s side represented a 14th consecutive victory in domestic competitions for the Bianconeri, but it was Cuadrado’s stoppage-time winner against Torino in late October which paved the way for his team’s relentless run of form.
Recalling that night on 31 October, he admitted: “We knew that we had to win the derby and fortunately that’s what we did. It was certainly a crucial moment in our season and hopefully we can keep pushing on. I’m very keen to win something with this great club.”
Asked whether his current outfit was the strongest he had ever played for, Cuadrado had few doubts.
“It’s always been the best team in Italy, while also among the European and global elite. For me, it’s extremely satisfying to be here.”