25.04.2017 14:30 - in: Serie A S

      Marchisio: “We have to believe we can win it all”

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      As the Bianconeri go from strength to strength on all three fronts, Claudio Marchisio insists the team are setting their sights on the best possible end to the season

      Overcoming ACL injury 

      “As the manager has said a number of times, and as I knew myself from watching players before me sustain anterior cruciate ligament damage, it takes around a year to recover.

      “Over these 12 months, I’ve had highs and lows, but I’ve managed to cope with it all in the best possible way.

      “When I returned to action in the winter, I felt good, but I had to be careful not to suffer muscular relapses, which fortunately never happened.

      “I’d accounted for a difficult year to be honest, but I’m happy not to have had any serious problems along the way, and I’ve managed to train consistently.

      “Now I feel in good shape and the team even more so in this extremely important stage of our season.”

      “This group has grown so much”

      “Watching the team grow in stature and confidence with every passing month has helped me when I’ve not been on the pitch. Being around a group of players who are all so positive and who want to achieve great things really rubs off on you.

      “That does not only apply to me, but other team-mates who have played less this season. We’re all keen to get on the pitch, but we’re also benefitting from that strength and personality of this group who are aiming at the highest objectives.

      “At the end of the day, any player here would prefer to feature less but win, than to play every game and lose. It’s the team that counts for most.” 

      Significance of sixth straight Scudetto

      “If we get our hands on a sixth straight Scudetto, that will definitely be the most significant for me along with the first of this cycle back in 2011/12.

      “My maiden league title was very important because I’d never won anything before, but to win six in a row would be extraordinary. Then again, we must not stop here.”

      Ever more ambitious in Europe

      “To beat a team like Barcelona over two legs undoubtedly boots self-confidence in all of us and makes us believe that we can achieve great things at the end of the season.

      “People talked about ‘the end of an era’ at Barcelona, but that’s not the case at all: we saw how strong they are only on Sunday when they defeated Real Madrid. They’re blessed with star players and they never give up.

      “Therefore, we deserve credit for coming a long way in recent seasons and making other teams realise how difficult it is to play against us.

      “That’s a process that has really come to the fore in the last three years, but this time we’ve truly confirmed just what a force we are in Europe.”

      A team of countless qualities

      “Our success is the fruit of an outstanding team spirit and togetherness. Some big players arrived in the summer and they bedded in perfectly straight away.

      “Another key quality of ours is that willingness to vary things up and refresh in certain areas. Ever since Massimiliano Allegri arrived in 2014 we’ve made changes to the formation and evolved the way we play. Embracing new input over time has been very positive for us.

      “Finally, we’re a side that doesn’t let up one inch out on the pitch. That was especially clear over the two games against Barcelona: in the first leg we pressed with real purpose in order to get as many goals as possible, then at the Camp Nou we were like an impenetrable wall such is our organisational solidity and sheer mental toughness.” 

      Respect for the Red and Whites

      “Against Monaco, we must show that desire to give even more than we already have in the Champions League so far. They’re a side that deserve our respect. Perhaps they are the least talked about of the teams to have reached the semi-finals, but if they’ve got this far in the competition it’s because they’re proving that they’re capable of going all the way not only in France’s Ligue 1, but also in Europe. They’ve knocked out some top clubs and we’re expecting two very tough games against them.”

      Tough Atalanta test awaits 

      “Atalanta are enjoying an incredible season thanks to their manager Gian Piero Gasperini. They’ve a tightly knit group of players, who hit it off from the moment Gasperini took over in the summer, and they’ve been consistently excellent ever since.

      “However, we too are in great form and we’ll go to Bergamo looking for the three points in order to help us secure the Scudetto as quickly as possible.”

      #Hi5tory exactly a year ago

      “This time last year we won the Serie A title at a point when I was undergoing knee surgery, so it was a bittersweet moment in a way for me.

      “On the one hand there was the joy of claiming the fifth consecutive Scudetto. On the other hand, I’d accepted the fact that I had several long months ahead of me before I could take to the field again.

      “Now a whole year has passed and what matters most of all is that we know we can go all the way on all three fronts this season.

      “Given our eight-point lead in the league, our place in the Champions League semi-finals and Coppa Italia final, we have to believe that we can do it. There’s no two ways about it.”

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