Juventus coach Antonio Conte will be hoping his strikers put an end to their frustrating start to the season in time for the visit of UEFA Champions League Group B rivals Galatasaray today.
Juventus reached the last eight last season before a 4-0 aggregate humbling by eventual champions Bayern Munich reminded the Italian giants of the progress they have to make if they are to make the final stages.
So far this campaign Juventus have looked a solid outfit, especially in attack where Carlos Tevez has been a crucial addition for the Bianconeri, but after failing to hit the net on several occasions during a frustrating 1-1 draw away to Copenhagen two weeks ago, a replica of their league performances, Juventus’ strikers have yet to really get into their stride.
Although third in Serie A only two points adrift of in-form AS Roma after six games, Juventus have scored 11 goals compared with Roma’s 17.
Juve’s fifth win of the campaign came away to Torino on Sunday when Conte’s men needed a controversial winner by French midfielder Paul Pogba to secure all three points.
Tevez, according to television pictures, was in an offside position when Pogba headed home from close range and controversy between the city rivals has raged since.
The win stood, though, and with Juve needing a win at this early stage in the Champions League, Conte’s men are already focused on the visit of the Turkish giants.
“We know it’s a crucial match for us,” Pogba told the Tuttosport newspaper. “We have to win, but we know it won’t be easy. I don’t know if this game will be decisive for qualification, but after our frustrating draw with Copenhagen we all want to win.”
The biggest concern for Conte is whether Tevez will be fit for the visit of Galatasaray.
Tevez suffered a nasty studs-up tackle by Ciro Immobile during the derby that was so bad the striker released a picture afterwards of his injury to the media.
Juventus immediately released a statement claiming “there is a big question mark over Tevez’s availability for Wednesday’s game.”
If so, it would deprive Conte of a player who he has only had positive things to say about so far this season and means Spaniard Fernando Llorente, rested for the Torino game, could start alongside Fabio Quagliarella or Mirko Vucinic.
Meanwhile, Galatasaray arrive in Turin buoyed by the hiring of new manager Roberto Mancini, who signed a three-year deal on Monday.
However, the Turkish champions, who sacked Fatih Termin last week after a mediocre start to their league campaign and a 6-1 rout by Real Madrid in their opening Champions League group game, reportedly have injury concerns of their own.
According to reports in the Hurriyet newspaper, playmaker Wesley Sneijder could be unavailable having undergone scans on a sore leg he picked up playing against Caykur Rizespor.
Today’s visit to Turin may have come a week too soon for Mancini, but having faced Juve numerous times during a Serie A coaching career with ACF Fiorentina, SS Lazio and, notably, Inter — who he led to three consecutive Serie A titles — the former Manchester City manager would be forgiven for making an immediate start if he is indeed to take his place in the dugout.
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