Historically, the first game after the holidays is never an easy one to predict, regardless of form and reputation. As Luigi Del Neri gets set to lead his bottom-of-the-table Verona out at Juventus Stadium, the experienced manager preferred to give full acknowledgement of his previous club’s streak of seven successive Serie A victories at the backend of 2015, which has seen them rise to within three points of leaders Inter.
Speaking to journalists at the Gialloblu’s training ground, he began: “Juve have shown that no comeback is impossible. After winning seven games on the spin, they’re now favourites for the Scudetto and I rate them as the strongest team in the division.
“Returning after the Christmas break is always tricky. Hopefully they won’t be right on top of their game, but, as far as we’re concerned, we need to defend as well and play in a measured, but also determined and aggressive manner.”
Verona are still looking for a maiden win of the campaign and sit eight points adrift of safety heading into tomorrow’s encounter.
After taking over the reins from previous coach Andrea Mandorlini at the start of December, Del Neri has overseen a 1-0 defeat to Empoli and two 1-1 draws with Milan and Sassuolo respectively, which have provided a basis from which the 65-year-old hopes his side can now push on in the second part of the season.
“There’s no getting away from the fact that we need to improve on our current position. We’re in a tricky patch at the moment, but we showed in our outings last month how to take on difficult teams with the right approach. Therefore, facing Juventus represents a challenge for us to see if we’re able to hold our own against everyone.”
He concluded: “After training for over a month together now, I’m expecting to see improvements from both a tactical and physical standpoint.”