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Despite Juventus being held to a fourth UEFA Europa League Group A draw in succession, goalkeeper Marco Storari insists the Bianconeri's battling qualities will ensure they qualify.
After a hard-fought scoreless encounter at home to FC Salzburg in which Juve struggled to make any inroads against a deep-lying visiting side, Luigi Delneri's men remain third in the section, three points behind both KKS Lech Poznań and Manchester City FC. However, Storari paid tribute to the likes of Mohamed Sissoko, who played through injury, and 19-year-old Manuel Giandonato, making his first start for a club without some 15 men currently sidelined.
A draw is better than no points at all against a tough side, who sat back, soaked up the pressure and then tried to hit us on the break," said Storari. "We were also down to the bare bones due to injuries. We had some who played tonight despite not being 100 per cent fit – and they deserve credit, as do the youngsters from the reserves. It's never easy for young players to adapt against experienced sides at this level.
"Now we need to win both our games so as not to have to depend on other results to go through and that's what we'll aim to do. We just need to keep battling on in the same way we did when we beat Milan on Saturday and as we did tonight. Hopefully some of our missing players will recover before too long but we were chosen by this club for our fighting qualities and that's what we'll keep showing."
To make matters worse for Juve, both Nicola Legrottaglie and Miloš Krasić hobbled off after sustaining knocks, but Simone Pepe, a winger playing as an emergency left-back, insisted the Turin giants can overcome this latest setback. "It was a very hard game," he told UEFA.com. "I'm just glad I didn't make any mistakes at the back. We were a bit unlucky that we sustained yet more injuries but we just have to get on with it by winning at Lech [on 1 December] in order to progress in the Europa League.
"When you play for a side like Juve everyone you face gives 200% rather than 100% so we knew it would be hard. But all is not lost; our fate is still very much in our hands because if we win at Lech we will be back on course due to the 3-3 draw with them here. The head-to-head will work in our favour – so we just need to win there.
It won't be easy but a club the size of Juventus is capable of anything."
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