JTV: Good afternoon Mario, welcome back to Jtv! With a successful first year at Juventus under your belt, how are you feeling ahead of the new season?
Mario: I feel in great shape and like the whole of the squad, I’m raring to go again. We’ve worked extremely hard over the last month and we hope we’ll be in the best possible condition for the first game of the season (against Fiorentina) on Saturday.
JTV: Your plans for the new campaign began on the other side of the world in July; tell us a bit about your experience of Melbourne and Hong Kong
Mario: It was great; it was the first time I had been anywhere like it. Being there just served to demonstrate how widely followed Juventus are around the world; it was fascinating seeing the level of support we have out there.
JTV: We saw a glimpse of what Mario Lemina has to offer, where do you believe you can go from here in your second campaign? What improvements would you like to make to your game?
Mario: Honestly there is plenty for me to improve on, both defensively and going forward. Equally I’m still young so I’m hungry to gain more top level experience and hone my mental game at the same time. To do both these things I’ll need to focus on getting as much game time as I can and staying injury-free for as long as possible.
JTV: You arrived on deadline day last summer of course so tomorrow will be your first experience of Villar Perosa (the club’s traditional in-house friendly). Have your team-mates told you what to expect?
Mario: Yes! It’s a party from what I’ve heard! I’ve been told it’s a fantastic day for the fans and an opportunity for us to celebrate with them and share an afternoon together.
JTV: We’ve gained some great insights into the togetherness of the group in the past few weeks via social media. Are you a fan? Do you see yourself competing with Patrice Evra’s efforts on Instagram…
Mario: Patrice is in a league of his own! Personally I’m a little more withdrawn myself and I enjoy keeping my private life and football separate. That said, it is great fun seeing how other players use them (social networks) and the things they come up with!
JTV: Juventus have made some eye-catching additions over the summer and an impressive squad is starting to take shape. How would you describe it in word?
Mario: In one word… I’m not sure I could! Either way, we have the makings of an excellent side all the more so in light of the exciting players that have arrived this summer. We’re working hard to gel together as quickly as possible and we’re looking forward to enjoying another fantastic season.
JTV: Everyone will be expecting Juve to get off to a winning start on home turf on Saturday against Fiorentina. How do you see the match panning out?
Mario: It’ll be a tough game for us against what is a very strong Fiorentina side. Much like last season, we’ll have to fight to the last and as ever, we’ve our eyes only on winning. What else can I say?
JTV: Your own personal ambitions for the campaign?
Mario: Primarily I want to stay fit. Last season was a tricky one for me injury-wise and I wasn’t able to make the progress I had expected but I’m hopeful that this year will be different and I can really kick on.