Antonio Conte admits it is now or never for his Juventus side as they prepare a hostile welcome for FC København, knowing their UEFA Champions League future is on the line.
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"We have to win if we are to continue in this competition," was the stark assessment of Juventus boss Antonio Conte as he seeks to revive the Italian champions' hopes of reaching the last 16.
Going into matchday five, his side prop up UEFA Champions League Group B with three points, one behind both Galatasaray AŞ and Wednesday's opponents FC København, who held them to a 1-1 draw in September. Visiting coach Ståle Solbakken acknowledges the "huge pressure" the hosts will be under and believes it could play into the hands of his improving charges.
• Assuming Real Madrid CF do not lose, Juventus, without a win so far, will move into second place by overcoming København. Indeed six points from their final two matches, the second of them away to Galatasaray, will guarantee the Serie A title holders a spot in the last 16. Conversely, victory for the Danish champions in Turin will eliminate Antonio Conte's team.
Antonio Conte, coach
We have to win if we are to continue in this competition. The match will be tough and full of danger but the solution is easy: we know we have to win, otherwise we will not have a tomorrow in the UEFA Champions League. I don't need to explain anything to my players.
I'm calm, because I know I have a group of players who during the past two seasons and a half have been used to playing under pressure. We will have to be good and clever – and we have to win!
I haven't only got Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tévez. I have players like Fabio Quagliarella, Sebastian Giovinco and Mirko Vučinić: these players helped us win the Scudetto, so I can't forget them. I'm lucky, because I have strong forwards in my team.
Sunday: AS Livorno Calcio 0-2 Juventus (Llorente 63, Tévez 75)
Buffon; Cáceres, Vidal, Chiellini; Padoin, Pogba, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah (Peluso 88); Tévez (Quagliarella 80), Llorente (Vučinić 81).
• Gianluigi Buffon celebrated his 500th Serie A appearance as Juve recorded their fifth straight league win without conceding and moved top of the standings.
Vučinić came on against Livorno for his first outing since sustaining a muscle injury on matchday two. Stephan Lichtsteiner remains sidelined and Andrea Barzagli will not play because of a thigh problem picked up on international duty. Mauricio Isla (knee) and Giovinco (foot) are out, while Simone Pepe is a long-term casualty.
Ståle Solbakken, coach
Juventus will be under huge pressure tomorrow and this can be an advantage for us. I have great respect for this club but absolutely no fear, even if I know that last season Nordsjælland suffered a bad defeat here [4-0].
Every minute we play in this competition is precious. We made stupid mistakes against Real Madrid [on matchday two], even if in the first half we played well. We have a lot of young players and we must learn from our mistakes. This match is also a chance to grow.
We are satisfied with what we have done in a group with some of the main contenders in the competition. We respect Juventus. They have a strong forward in Fernando Llorente, who is much improved over the last six weeks. They also have a lot of very good midfielders.
It will be really hard for us, but we have a chance. We need a point to advance and will do whatever we can to get it. København have improved in recent weeks too, even if I haven't got such a deep squad. We hope for a good result.
Sunday: København 4-1 Viborg FF (Santin 1, Vetokele 8 26, Toutouh 68; Dalgaard 24)
Wiland; Jacobsen, Sigurdsson, Mellberg, Bengtsson; Delaney, Gislason (Amankvaa 73); Vetokele (Pourié 67), Toutouh, Jørgensen; Santin (Kristensen 63).
• César Santin scored FCK's fastest league goal after just 38 seconds, with Igor Vetokele and Youssef Toutouh – replacing the suspended Claudemir – completing the club's fifth straight Superliga home win. The Danish champions lie third, six points adrift of leaders FC Midtjylland.
Norwegian international Daniel Braaten will miss the Juventus game with a thigh problem. "Obviously it is frustrating as Daniel has put in some really great performances in the Champions League," said Solbakken.
• FCK's Olof Mellberg played for Juventus in 2008/09, scoring two goals in 27 Serie A matches. He was a team-mate of Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Giovinco, Claudio Marchisio and Paolo De Ceglie.