Friday evening’s visit of Sassuolo to Juventus Stadium comes with an intriguing sub-plot, namely the possibility of Simone Zaza facing the club with whom he enjoyed two successful seasons between 2013 and 2015. Speaking to the Sky cameras on Wednesday, he began:
“Even when we’re not playing our best football, we still come up with the goods. That’s the most important thing. Right now we’re focused solely on Sassuolo, and only after then will our attentions turn to Bayern. It was certainly a low point in our season. For me, there were also the added emotions of playing against my former club. Afterwards, the more experienced heads in the dressing room spoke out and each of us confronted our problems and started to show our true potential.”
Commenting on the consistent rise of Eusebio Di Francesco’s men since their promotion to Serie A in 2013, Zaza admitted that their performances this term had not come as a surprise, while he thanked his former coach for the support received during his time at the Mapei Stadium: “I’m not shocked in the slightest. I knew that they were fully capable of enjoying a season such as this one, because after two years in the top flight the club is far more familiar with the challenges at hand".
Asked whether Di Francesco was now primed to take over the reins of one of the traditional top teams in the division, the 24-year-old replied: “First and foremost, I am extremely grateful for everything he has done for me down the years. I actually believe that he is already in charge of a big club, but I know he is highly ambitious and I think he’s ready to step up when he feels the time is right.”
"Alvaro Morata? We’re friends and spend a lot of time together off the pitch. We like to kick back and relax by playing video games. There’s no rivalry between us. On the contrary, we drive each other on. My average took a bit of a knock after the Inter match, but I’m satisfied with those numbers. From the very start, I’ve made it clear that I want to take part in the Euros and nothing has changed: I’m keen to do well with Juventus and then repeat my form with the national side.”