Excited Hjulmand relishing Juventus test
Monday, October 22, 2012
Kasper Hjulmand says FC Nordsjælland are looking forward to two-time European champions Juventus's visit "like it is Christmas Eve", with both teams seeking a first Group E win.
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FC Nordsjælland coach Kasper Hjulmand compared himself to a child at Christmas as he spoke of his club's excitement at hosting Juventus on Tuesday. "We are looking forward to this match like it's Christmas Eve," said Hjulmand, who did not disguise his admiration for Juventus and Andrea Pirlo, in particular, but stressed that his team still "have a chance" of taking their first Group E points.
Coach Kasper Hjulmand
Juventus are a fantastic team. They have not lost in 47 league matches and are also undefeated in the Champions League this season. Juventus coach Antonio Conte has created a side with a superb team spirit. Everybody works extremely hard and knows exactly what to do.
The team is the star. Andrea Pirlo is the key, though, as his distribution is second to none. He is a joy to watch – at least when you are not up against him. I am not the first coach to try to find a way to close Pirlo down. It is an almost impossible task.
If we can improve as much for this match as we did between our first game at Shakhtar Donetsk and the one against Chelsea, we have a chance. We did a lot of things right against Chelsea. Juventus do not give many chances away so we have to be clinical in front of goal. I rate Juventus as one of the best teams in the world right now, but we believe we can surprise them if we give our all. We are looking forward to this match like it is Christmas Eve.
Friday: Nordsjælland 3-0 Silkeborg IF (Nordstrand 72, Okore 75, Laudrup 80)
Hansen; Gundelach (Parkhurst 73) Okore, Stokholm, Mtiliga; Petry (Issah 63) Adu; Christensen, Lorentzen, John; Nordstrand (Laudrup 73).
• Morten Nordstrand scored his 50th Superliga goal on Friday. Nordsjælland have lost just one of their last 14 home games – the 4-0 defeat by Chelsea FC on matchday two.
Ivan Runje and Mikkel Beckmann are doubts for the game following tests during training on Monday.
Assistant coach Angelo Alessio
I have plenty of experience and a good feeling, so I am not worried that Antonio Conte is not here for this match. We have respect for FC Nordsjælland, but we acknowledge that we are the favourites and have a good chance to pick up three points. Chelsea scored three of their four goals here very late in the match, so we know it is not going to be easy for us. Nordsjælland have been playing some fine football.
We will assess the squad after our training session at the stadium and then decide who is going to play. Conte decides who plays depending on the tactical outlay and the opponents we face. We have five forwards in the squad so it is not certain that Nicklas Bendtner will feature.
Saturday: Juventus 2-0 SSC Napoli (Cáceres 80, Pogba 82)
Storari; Chiellini, Bonucci, Barzagli; Lichtsteiner, Vidal (Pogba 76), Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah (Cáceres 78) ; Giovinco, Quagliarella (Matri 60).
• Paul Pogba scored his first goal for the club as the Bianconeri extended their undefeated run to 47 Serie A games, since a 1-0 defeat at Parma FC on 15 May 2011. Fabio Capello's AC Milan set the Italian top-flight record of 58 matches without defeat between 1991 and 1993.
Gianluigi Buffon (thigh) and Mirko Vučinić (flu) are back in contention after missing the Napoli game, while Kwadwo Asamoah (ankle) and Stephan Lichtsteiner (fatigue) have stayed in Turin. Simone Pepe is out.
Michael Laudrup, father of Nordsjælland forward Andreas, was on Juventus's books between 1983 and 1989, scoring 16 goals in 102 games.