Llorente: Real game must-win for Juve
Juventus forward Fernando Llorente has admitted side will be in real trouble if they do not beat Real Madrid in their Champions League encounter on Wednesday.
Juve have made surprisingly hard work of Group B so far, and sit third in the standings with only two points after drawing 1-1 at FC Copenhagen and 2-2 at home to Galatasaray, and then losing 2-1 in Madrid two weeks ago.
Their former Athletic Bilbao striker told Al Primer Toque that he and his teammates must make the most of their home advantage in this meeting at their Juventus Stadium and turn last month's result around.
“There are three games left now and the points are vital for us,” Llorente said. “Playing at home we must show we are strong. Against Madrid we cannot commit any errors, we have already shown we could play a good game at the Bernabeu.”
Juventus had spells of dominance in Madrid but left furious at referee Manuel Grafe, who gave a first half penalty against Giorgio Chiellini for a jersey pull on Sergio Ramos, then harshly sent off the Italian defender for a tangle with Cristiano Ronaldo early in the second period.
Llorente said he hoped Wednesday's referee Howard Webb did not have such an influence on the final result.
“I believe that the referee did not have a good day at the Bernabeu,” he said. “He penalised us with his decisions. We were annoyed by that.”
The Basque striker, who scored his side's goal in that game, said he feels in form now after a tough start to his new life in Turin. “I am feeling better all the time, which I like,” Llorente said. “I am trying to improve in each game, to score goals and to pick up confidence to bring even more to this team.”
Meanwhile former Juve midfielder Angelo di Livio has told Marca that Antonio Conte's side must be at their very best to get the three points they need on Wednesday's. “To beat Real Madrid, Juve must play a perfect game, without any errors,”
Di Livio said “They have a strong opponent in front of them, but they are playing at the Juventus Stadium. I hope they can benefit from home advantage.”
Di Livio, a member of the Bianconeri team which lost to Madrid in the 1998 Champions League final, said he thought Carlos Tevez could be Juve's key player in the latest meeting of two of Europe's glamour sides.
“I believe we will see a Juventus with a lot of speed -- physical and mental -- because that is how you make it easier to beat Madrid,” Di Livio said. “In this aspect, Carlos Tevez and Fabio Quagliarella could be the big protagonists. The Argentine could be decisive. This Real Madrid lack a bit of balance in defence.”
Di Livio also picked out France midfielder Paul Pogba, who Juve signed on a free transfer from Manchester United in summer 2012, and who Madrid have reportedly enquired about signing in the future. “[Pogba] has become the signing of the century for the Bianconeri, who picked him up from United for nothing,” he said.
“Not just Madrid, but all the best clubs in the world want him because we are talking about a great player. He must keep working hard to improve, but he is on the right path for that.” Ensuring Cristiano Ronaldo was not left one-on-one with his marker should be a concern for the Juve defence, Di Livio said.
“It will be difficult, above all against the Portuguese,” he said. “Cristiano is extraordinary, powerful. A stupendous player in all aspects. To stop him maybe they will need to double up on the wings, and always have each side well covered to deny him space.”