Juventus are trailing Porto 2-1 from the first leg, and with the Old Lady faltering in the Serie A title race, too, Pirlo is in danger of becoming the first manager to not win Serie A since Luigi Del Neri in the 2010-11 season. Speculation has also surrounded his future with reports claiming that he could be shown the door if Juventus fail to advance to the quarter-finals.
“We need a very technical game. We face a compact team, that play with two tight lines,” Pirlo said at a press conference before adding, “There will be little time and space to think. We’ll need a lot of technique, we must have the patience to make them run from one part to another."
Pirlo added, "De Ligt warmed up with the team this morning but trained separately from the group. The others are all available, not 100 per cent fit, but it’s already a good thing to have them. Chiellini is feeling well, I think he will be available tomorrow. These are Cristiano’s games, he’s always proved it. He followed a special training program these days, he is serene and is looking forward to playing.”
Massimiliano Allegri and Maurizio Sarri have both previously been sacked by the Serie A giants for failing to meet their Champions League goals, and Pirlo was asked if he fears he too could meet with the same fate.
He replied, “If I thought so, I wouldn’t be here. I know it’s an important game, but I focus on one game at a time. The club will decide my future, depending on the results. I work day by day, I know my project and the club’s project This game is like a final for us. We need to turn the tie around. It’s an open result and we must be clear-minded."
The Juventus coach concluded, “We watched the first leg many times. We had planned to play differently. We made a mistake at the beginning of the game, and the match changed. We’ll try to learn from the mistakes we made two weeks ago. We are studying Porto, we know they can use different systems. We know we can qualify for the next stage, without underestimating Porto’s quality. We must think we can qualify for the quarter-finals.”