Turin, Jan 5 (IANS) Juventus winger Juan Cuadrado has urged his teammates to start the year on a positive note by sealing maximum points against Hellas Verona in the Serie A on Wednesday. Despite Verona occupying bottom spot in the Serie A table after failing to win a single match so far this term, Cuadrado on Monday stressed that the home match would be far from easy, given that it represents the defending champions’ maiden outing after a 17-day break since the 3-2 success against Carpi on December 20. fourth-placed Juventus (33 points) are three points behind league leaders Inter Milan with Fiorentina and Napoli grabbing second and third positions.
“It is perhaps the most difficult match out of those coming up because it is the very first one after the Christmas holidays. We are fully aware, however, that we need to start the year on a positive note by sealing what would be three extremely important points,” Cuadrado told juventus.com. “We’ve been working very hard over the past week, which has really benefited us, as the fixtures will come up thick and fast over the next five months and there’ll be less and less time to devote to the training field,” the Colombia international added. “We’re always looking to win games, whether in the league, Coppa Italia or Champions League. This is the Juventus way, to always be challenging for titles, but we’re aware of the extra competition from other teams this season.” Looking further ahead to Juventus’ Champions League last 16 clashes with Bayern Munich, Cuadrado echoed midfielder Sami Khedira’s words that, while the tie would be very difficult, they would stand a chance if they play to the best of their abilities over the two legs scheduled for February 23 and March 16.
“Playing Bayern is certainly a challenge, but any team can be beaten. We have to approach the matches with great intelligence and planning as if the event were a World Cup final,” Cuadrado, who is on loan from English champions Chelsea, said. “We’ve plenty of time to prepare for it all and we hope that we’ll be completely on top of our game when the time arrives to face them,” the former Fiorentina and Udinese player added.