Carlo Ancelotti hopes to see further improvement from his side when they face Barcelona at Hard Rock Stadium on Wednesday night. The Azzurri come into this friendly double-header with the Spanish champions after impressing in recent wins against Liverpool and Marseille.
“I hope the lads can build on our last two performances against Liverpool in Edinburgh and Marseille last Sunday,” the coach Carlo Ancelotti began at the pre-match media conference in Miami. “I want to see my team play with courage and character. We're expecting two tough matches and they'll be good for us to see where we're at fitness-wise.”
Is there anything you need to be especially careful?
“We know it's a difficult game but what I'd really like to see is us playing with the sort of spirit we need to show against top teams like Barcelona”.
What does it mean to be playing a potential Champions League winner like Barcelona at this early stage of the year?
"Barcelona have always been a difficult team to beat, a well-drilled side with excellent players. They're capable of going all the way every year. It's a tough test for us.”
How are Barcelona different with or without Lionel Messi?
“Messi is an important player – a world-class player who can win matches single-handedly. Without him they lose a bit of quality but they have important players in every area of the pitch. Messi's absence means [Ernesto] Valverde will have the chance to try something different.”
How much do you think you can learn from international friendlies such as these?
“We had a long training camp where we trained really well. We wanted to come here to Miami. I think after a long period of pre-season preparations, it's good to see how you match up against other top international teams".
Serie A TIM seems to be getting stronger as lots of teams making big signings. What sort of season are you expecting?
“Serie A TIM is getting bigger and better as it's going through a period of change. Various teams have strengthened and brought in top players to try and reduce the gap with Juventus. I'm sure it will make for a very competitive and balanced league.”
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