Pirlo wary of Napoli ‘pace and technique’

Andrea Pirlo warns Napoli ‘pace and technique’ can make the difference in the Supercoppa, but Juventus want to ‘prove we’re not the team we saw’ against Inter.

It kicks off on Wednesday at the Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia at 20.00 GMT.

“Napoli are a very strong team with a lot of pace and technique in the side, so we must be wary of them,” said the coach in his press conference.

“They have a defence that works very tightly, so we must make the most of the scoring opportunities that we create.”

Merih Demiral is the latest player to miss out, along with Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado, Alex Sandro and Matthijs de Ligt, and the Bianconeri are already smarting after a 2-0 defeat to Inter on Sunday evening.

“Gigi Buffon has a few problems, so Wojciech Szczesny will start in goal. It’s an important match, a Final, it comes after a bad defeat in Serie A, so we are eager to get back out there with determination and hunger to bring home the trophy.

“When you lose like that, you wouldn’t repeat anything, so it’s all a learning experience. We’re determined to turn over a new leaf, cancel out Sunday’s game and fortunately we’re back on the field straight away, so we can prove that we’re not the team we saw at San Siro. I didn’t say we were afraid of Inter, just that we were timorous compared to the attitude we should’ve had.

“This is a difficult moment, there are many over the course of a season, especially after losing an important game. It’s an advantage for us that we are immediately back on the pitch challenging to bring home a trophy.

“I am disappointed for the players, especially as some were attacked unfairly. I’d prefer for the critics to attack me rather than them. There’s no turning point, no crossroads, there’s just a Final to win and that’s why we are here.”

With Dybala injured, there are reports Dejan Kulusevski could be chosen rather than Alvaro Morata in the starting XI.

“It depends on how we want to play and approach the game. I have an idea in my head, but we’ll see how the players recover and who will start.”

Pirlo shrugged off questions about Juventus perhaps feeling sated after nine Scudetto titles in a row.

“If a team won nine years in a row, that’s not a coincidence. It was earned with hard work and we have the same ambition, because Juve will always challenge for trophies, and we have the same hunger to win a 10th consecutive title.

“The project is to get the best out of every individual player and for Juventus. There have been a few slip-ups, but that’s inevitable.”