Juve boss Sarri ‘absolutely determined’ to secure victory over Atletico Madrid
Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri knows his side must show “absolute determination” if they are to start their Champions League campaign with a positive result at Atletico Madrid.
The two side go head-to-head at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday, with Atletico out to make amends for last season’s elimination at the last-16 stage by the Serie A giants.
Sarri opened his first season in charge with two wins before the international break, but saw Juventus held to a goalless draw at Fiorentina on Saturday.
The Bianconeri have been hit by more injury setbacks concerning Douglas Costa and defender Danilo, although midfielder Miralem Pjanic is expected to be involved.
Whatever side former Chelsea boss Sarri is able to send out, he expects the players to produce the required performance.
“We are Juventus and our objective is always to win. We have to face this game with absolute determination, but also with calm as we have to be able to express ourselves,” Sarri said at a press conference.
“We have many weapons with different characteristics.”
Sarri added: “Atletico are one of the teams who can win the Champions League. With their characteristics, they can take on anyone.”
With captain Giorgio Chiellini out for around six months after knee surgery, defender Leonardo Bonucci maintains everyone is pulling together.
“It’s not in the DNA of Juventus to think about drawing a match even before playing it. We want to show that we are on the right path and bring home the result,” he said.
“Tomorrow will be a battle. We will look to play a great game from the first minute. We’re coming here very fired up and full of energy.”
Atletico are second in the LaLiga table, but lost 2-0 at Real Sociedad on Saturday.
Diego Simeone’s men will be looking to lay down a marker of their own in Group D – and keeping a certain Cristiano Ronaldo quiet.
“Juve are always a very competitive squad, with players of great potential,” Atletico manager Simeone said.
“Tomorrow, it will be difficult to take ideas from last year’s matches because Sarri’s game is different.”
Simeone added: “It is difficult to prepare for a game against Cristiano Ronaldo. He is an animal in front of goal.”
Defender Jose Maria Gimenez maintains it will not be just all about making up for last season or only stopping the former Real Madrid frontman.
“We’re not looking for revenge after last year,” the Uruguayan said.
“It’s a new season and we are two new teams, but we come into this game with a lot of desire.
“This game is very important for us because we want to get off to the right start.”
Gimenez added: “We’ll look to ensure that Cristiano Ronaldo sees as little of the ball as possible.”