09.08.2016 15:30 - in: The team S

      Pjanic: “Prepared for the pressures of new season”

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      Miralem Pjanic sets his sights on a successful season with Juventus and “can’t wait to get started” for the club’s Serie A curtain-raiser against Fiorentina on 20 August

      Juventus’ first signing of a busy summer, Miralem Pjanic is now in his sixth week of pre-season with the Bianconeri. Having got to know his new team-mates in Vinovo, on the club tour of Melbourne and Hong Kong, and most recently in Sunday’s friendly win over West Ham in London, the Bosnian international stressed that the extra time spent with the squad has paid off, as they now enter the final straight of their preparations ahead of their campaign kicking off on Saturday 20 August at home to Fiorentina.

      From discussing his ambitions for the season, preferred positions on the pitch, set-piece skills and early chemistry with colleagues, here are the best of Pjanic’s quotations from today’s interview with Sky Sport and Mediaset.

      Viola in view

      “The season is edging ever closer and I’ve benefitted from putting in the hard yards with the rest of the boys for over a month now. We’ve still a few days to add the finishing details and I just can’t wait to get started.”

      Expectations and optimism

      “Juventus have been a top side for some time, winning five league titles on the trot and the club has reinforced the team yet again this summer, but we must show our strengths out on the field from the very first fixture against Fiorentina.

      “Each and every year there’s pressure on Juventus to reach certain objectives, but the squad and the coach know how to manage it and the new faces among us at the club will follow them and work our socks off at the same time.”

      Roles relished

      “Until now I’ve played both in the hole between the strikers and in front of the defence. Obviously they are different positions, but I enjoy both of them. I was the deep-lying playmaker against West Ham and I felt comfortable there, even if we need to fine polish our moves still, which is something we’ll look to do for the very next match.”

      Set-piece specialist

      “We’ve a few players with a good free-kick in their locker, but it’s not a competition. What’s important is that whoever takes them feels confident they can score. It’s far more crucial that the team wins, even if I naturally hope to be able to find the net as often as possible from dead ball situations.

      “Comparisons with Pirlo? He’s an exceptional player who I’ve always admired. It’s one of my aims to reach his level some day.”

      European aims

      “The objective is to go as far as possible in the Champions League. Juventus have shown in recent years that they’re on a par with the big boys. For starters though, we’re focused on getting through the group stages. From the round of 16 onwards anything can happen and it’s often the small details that make the difference.”

      Words on Paul and Paulo

      “Paul (Pogba) did brilliantly here and he’s left many fond memories at this club, the fans and his team-mates. Sometimes a player realises that he wants a change of scene and I send him my best wishes.

      “As for Paulo (Dybala), I’m forging a great partnership with him. He reads my passes very quickly. Playing with someone like him makes things a lot easier.

      “I have to say that all of our forwards are extremely talented and it won’t be easy for the boss to pick his attacking line-ups this season. As far as I’m concerned, I’ll look to provide them with quality balls, as they’ve certainly got what it takes to make the most of them.”

      When returning to Rome

      “When we eventually take on Roma at the Stadio Olimpico (currently scheduled for 14 May 2017), I expect it to be a really tough match. They’re a very strong side, led by an excellent coach.

      “I spent five wonderful years in Rome and it will be a very special occasion for me, but I’m now representing a different set of colours and I’ll give my all to win.”

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