Juventus’ players still believe they can claim a 10th consecutive Serie A title this season, according to head coach Andrea Pirlo.
The Bianconeri are 10 points behind leaders Inter, although they have a game in hand on Antonio Conte’s side.
That comes at home to Spezia on Tuesday, with Juve looking to address a worrying run of form which has seen them win just once in their past five games across all competitions.
They have, however, won their five most recent top-flight matches at the Allianz Stadium, scoring at least two goals in each of them (14 in total) and keeping a clean sheet in the past three.
Despite the gap to Inter, Conte insists his side have not given up hope of sealing yet another Scudetto.
“I wouldn’t say we can chase the Scudetto if I didn’t know that the team thinks so too,” he told a media conference on Monday.
“I know the lads believe it, they train well and want to go back to winning the title and this makes me feel comfortable.
“We don’t look at who is above us or behind us, we concentrate on ourselves. The goal must remain the same. There are many games and as long as there’s room to recover, we will be there.
“The initial goal was to win them all, we know we lost a few points, but that is in the past. We have to look to the future and the future is Spezia.”
Juve have won 21 of their past 23 Serie A home matches against promoted sides, keeping 14 clean sheets in the process.
They face a spirited Spezia side, though, with only Inter (14) gaining more points from a losing position than Vincenzo Italiano’s men (nine) in Serie A this season. Seven of those came in away matches, which is the joint-most alongside Benevento.
And Pirlo knows his side will have to be at their best to claim all three points.
“Spezia are proving to be up for Serie A, having a great championship,” the Juve boss added. “They have achieved great results against the big teams too. It will be a difficult match.
“It will be an important match for us and we must continue to fight for the Scudetto. We will have to play an intense game from the first minute.
“We know we have been caught on four occasions, but each match was different. We have analysed the mistakes made and we will try to avoid repeating them.”