Torino coach Ivan Juric says his side never seem to win the Turin derby against Juventus, a fact that bothers him a lot. The two sides square off tomorrow afternoon, both missing key players as David Zima, Koffi Didji, Dusan Vlahovic and Federico Chiesa are all set to miss the game. Speaking in his pre-match presser, Juric pointed to the injuries for both sides and the importance of defending against Juve’s set-pieces:
Do you hope to recover any injured players?
“Zima’s situation is that he’s started training with us but he’s definitely not ready to play from the 1′, maybe a break. The others I don’t think so.”
Allegri’s teams are always compact. Is there a need to be cynical in front of goal, something that was lacking with Verona?
“It takes everything, lately with them we’ve had big games lost evenly on set pieces. The difference in physicality is huge. We need to play well and be tough on set pieces.”
Will Tameze play third in defence?
“Yes because we have no other solutions.
How do you analyse your difficulties on set pieces, both for and against?
“In the defensive phase we often suffer from physicality, so we need to put in extra determination. On set-pieces we have Ilic who usually beats corners well, this time against Verona he failed, while Lazaro did well. We definitely need to put quality into it from this point of view.
How should you play tomorrow?
“We will need to play fast, quick, there is no time to lose, we need to make quick actions”.
There is no Chiesa and Vlahovic, is that an advantage?
“Kean, Milik and others have sufficient quality. And then we also lack players. Certainly then in derbies quality is not the only thing you need.”
How is the Turin derby different from the others?
“That we never win and that bothers me a lot. I would definitely like to change this trend. There’s one strong team and the other less so. In Genoa there is much more balance. Although I must say that our last derbies have been balanced and decided by a dead-ball.”
Could the absence of Vlahovic and Chiesa be a source of distraction?
“It would be madness given how much we miss winning. I think in general that to score 53 points we have to be at the top in mentality and desire. It takes a kind of fanaticism that I have had in other teams, in training, in living together, that takes you beyond your limits. In the past two years we have been at the top, at this moment I perceive that we are not at the top. I see it from certain situations and certain behaviour. To achieve something more you have to be fanatical and I don’t see this in us.”
So some stimulus is needed?
“I don’t see the fanaticism I like. Our concept of work also includes recovering players who have not performed at their best in other places, giving them attention and love. We did this with players like Taarabt, who was unwatchable in other places, while we changed him and he then went to Benfica to do four years at a high level, in fact now we are friends. Here instead I see different things. I had Sanabria in my head, but now there is a competing Sanabria who gives a little less. Obviously we got certain things wrong.
How did the team train during the week?
“It’s not a problem of training badly. I simply think that to score 53 points you have to go beyond your potential. In the past we managed to create environments where there was total and absolute fanaticism that we don’t have at the moment, and I think we are unlikely to have it. Perhaps I was wrong to forgive things that should not be forgiven. But I am not saying there is a lack of professionalism. I’m not saying anything against my players from this point of view. During the week they worked with application and concentration. We are few at the moment and maybe that helps us. Those who were available trained with great desire and concentration. The only real training was yesterday and they responded very well.
Cairo spoke highly of you during the week, saying he was ready to sign another contract.
“Contracts are a guarantee for the coach, in the sense that if you are exonerated you are still calm. For the rest I live on emotions. He is good with me, I always feel freedom and esteem, even in dark moments he has never asked me uncomfortable questions. In my head we are building a structure. In my head I have to feel that we are there. Right now, however, we are all aware that we expected more, in terms of fluidity, in terms of recognising the game, in terms of mentally different players. I realise that I miscalculated on many things and I have to reflect on how to start strong, because things that I thought were OK turned out not to be OK.”
What was the mistake?
“I made a mistake in the assessment of certain situations. Including the injury situation, see Djidji and Zima, but also Soppy, who got injured where he had already been injured in Bergamo, being out for three months. Sometimes things can go right or wrong, they all went wrong for us. Then there are other things that I thought I had firmly in hand, instead I have to take three steps back and get them back’.
Did you hear all of Cairo’s politically perfect and never divisive statements?
“Far too perfect… Right now, if we look at our games, we expected more. All of us. I for one, from certain players. Maybe a president sometimes calls you and asks you for explanations, even if only out of curiosity, like you do. He doesn’t call me. He doesn’t ask me anything and for me that’s great.”
In another interview today, he says instead that you might talk to each other more, that he might have useful things to say to you.
“Definitely he is a person who can help you in certain situations, but I feel that in my job not being called means having confidence.”
Do you not think that the expiring contract is a situation that penalises you?
“It may be, but I hope not. I don’t think it is that, though. I think there is a group of twenty players with many situations. This doesn’t affect so much, it affects more how you are.”
What do you perceive in the run-up to the derby?
“I perceive stimuli from the people, who say to me: come on let’s win it, the past doesn’t count, let’s win this. I perceive it not as a burden, but as a stimulus. I perceive this from people and friends. They don’t talk to me about the fact that they haven’t won it for so long, they talk to me with optimism, and the guys have to see it that way, as a great opportunity’.
Have you also become a bit of a Toro fan?
“I’m in an emotional battle. Sometimes there are things I appreciate, sometimes things I don’t. I feel a passion that can explode, but there are also many friends who don’t go to the stadium because they have the bull tattooed on their arm. This disturbs me, because instead in Split, for example, people go to the stadium. I feel disillusioned about various things and I wish with all my heart that it wasn’t like that. You have to be honest about your feelings, I’m not saying that I’m a Toro fan, but I am saying that I’m in a battle.
If it goes well, is there one person you would dedicate the victory to?
“To a guy from the Sbarco (restaurant in San Salvario, ed). We talked for a while and he touched my heart’.
Did you go to Superga this week?
“No I went to the Sbarco… You can breathe the soul of Turin, it’s a nice place…”