“Juventus should never play badly twice in a row.”
These were for the first words of Leonardo Bonucci this afternoon – the defender speaking to the Sky and Mediaset cameras in Vinovo – Juve’s number 19 revealing a sneak preview of the Bianconeri’s state of mind ahead of Sunday’s Serie A meeting with Lazio.
After a disappointing defeat to Fiorentina last weekend and a shaky final quarter of an hour against Atalanta in the Coppa Italia, Bonucci has called on his team-mates to cut out the “silly mistakes” and rediscover the form, mental focus and intensity that have distinguished them for the past five seasons.
For Leo, the seasons starts here…
No more mistakes
“We sat down as a team and acknowledged that what happened in Florence was a wake-up call: we don’t have any more time for mistakes.
As ever, we need to learn from our defeats and come out of them stronger than we were before. Now is the time to show once again that at a mental level, Juventus are the toughest out there in Italy and can mix it with the best in Europe.”
Moving forward as a group
“A strong run of form is good for morale but we must not assume anything at this level, I can’t repeat that enough. We’ve made too many mistakes recently - from our whole performance against Fiorentina, to Doha and even Atalanta’s second goal in the cup – and that has come from a dip in desire and intensity in our approach to games.
“Coming together and fighting back as a team is the only way we are going to end the season successfully. I have no doubt that from now on, you will be seeing the true Juventus.
Recipe for success?
“We’re lucky enough to have players versatile enough to adapt to a variety of formations but ultimately all that matters is how well prepared you are mentally. We could have played with seven at the back in Florence but still conceded the same goals.
“To win you need to have that fire in your belly to win the 50-50s, put your body on the line for your team-mates, cut out silly errors and play as a team both defensively and going forward. We’ve considered all of this as a group and that awareness should serve as extra motivation for us.
“The club has big plans for the future, hinging on more success on the field. It is up to us to make sure we deliver that.”
“Lazio are a great side and have come on leaps and bounds under Simone Inzaghi. They have all the tools to caught us problems, particularly on the counter-attack.”