‘Wounded’ Juventus will be spurred on against Tottenham, says Gianluigi Buffon

David Hytner
The Guardian

Gianluigi Buffon likened Juventus to a wounded animal ahead of the Champions League last‑16 second leg against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley but he insisted they always raised their game when the odds were against them.

Buffon said the outbreak of pessimism in Turin after the 2-2 first-leg draw was entirely normal; any blip Juventus suffer is invariably magnified. But as the manager, Massimiliano Allegri, suggested he was ready to start with Gonzalo Higuaín, Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa up front, Buffon sounded a note of optimism.

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“When Juventus are wounded or we have our backs to the wall, it spurs us on,” the 40-year-old goalkeeper said. “It will be an uphill battle but sometimes you can get caught out if it’s all downhill all the way. It’s obvious there is a certain amount of pessimism after the first leg. One false step with Juventus and people start to fear the worst or criticise us. But we are capable of playing the right game.

“Spurs like to attack but by the same token they have a style of play which sometimes allows the opposition a few chances. It will be very even. The team that has the best clinical edge will be the team that goes through.”

Buffon said the Tottenham striker Harry Kane reminded him of Gabriel Batistuta, the great Argentina No 9, but he was more concerned with Juventus’s attacking options. Dybala is back from injury while Higuaín returned to training on Monday after an ankle problem.

“I don’t see any reason why they cannot both play,” Allegri said. “The fact that this is such a huge game – you want to play in a game like this, even if you’re not in tip-top shape. Douglas Costa could well play, too.”

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