Imperious in the middle of the park from the first whistle to the last, Claudio Marchisio’s display on Saturday against Empoli was hardly one of a player who had been sidelined through injury since mid-March.
The midfielder’s performance was one of several plus points from the evening, although he was keen to stress that the most important aspect of all was that of sealing a victory that aids their Scudetto aspirations.
He said: “I’m not quite at 100 per cent yet, but I played at a good level of intensity. Today was about getting players back on the park and taking home three points.
“It was far from an easy encounter, especially after the international break to find an Empoli side who play without fear. We only had two days to train as an entire group, but we won and that’s what matters.
“We might have sat back somewhat in the second half, but Empoli didn’t really threaten. It’s important that we fight until the very end of every match, as we’re accustomed to doing. There won’t be any more breaks and we need to battle hard for every point between now and the end of the season.”