Maurizio says he has spoken to Miralem Pjanic ahead of Juve’s match with Milan while Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala are phenomenal players who are likely to start together against the Rossoneri.
The Juventus coach spoke with Sky Sport ahead of the Coppa Italia clash and offered some insight into his starting XI and the challenges of playing again after a lengthy break.
“I think we are lucky enough to be playing in three competitions, separately from each other” he told Sky, “And we can focus the motivations on one goal at a time, this can be an advantage.
“The matches with Milan have all been difficult this year, in the league as in the Italian Cup. They are an opponent who create difficulties for us and the result of the first leg does not guarantee us anything.
“The player suspensions make me think that they will play with the same competitive eleven as the first leg, the tie is still very open.”
“Are we ready? The pitch will tell us, I think nobody can know for certain, for various reasons.
“The first is because we come from an abnormal interruption. In the summer, players have a break but for 30 days, they stay active, swimming or tennis for example.
“This time the interruption was passive. The boys were on the couch and trained at home. We can have certainties, also given the lack of friendlies. I can be satisfied with what I saw in training, but then the response in the game will be different.
“Unfortunately today we have had more players on paper than on the pitch, there have been three or four long injuries, such as those of Chiellini, Demiral and Khedira, in addition to Rabiot and Ramsey.”
Paulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo had been forging a strong partnership prior to the break.
“Dybala? A phenomenal player. Our difficulty from a tactical point of view is only that of making two atypical players play together.
“They can make the difference in any action, however, it is clear that it is not easy to make them coexist. There is the risk of having the opposing area a little empty, but it is a nice problem to have.
“Pjanic? I found him to be much better than when we interrupted the season. I talked a lot with him, he is an extraordinary player.
“He cannot afford to have 4 or 5 bad games as he had, and he agrees with me. He went through a tough time after a couple of poor games, but he must be convinced that he is a great player.
“Even the big players can be wrong, but they do it once or two, then they raise their heads.
The race for the Scudetto looks a two-way tie between Juventus Lazio but Sarri is careful to not rule out Inter, despite beating them in the Derby D’Italia.
“With 13 games to play, we must also consider the Nerazzurri. This will be a restart with many unknown factors, losing points can be very easy.”
Finally, Juventus will hope to return to the Champions League in August, albeit with a 1-0 deficit against Lyon, but will the extra game time benefit Juventus?
“Is it better to play a game after 5 months or do it after 14 games in 40 days? I don’t think it will make too much of a difference, it’s practically a one-off game. “