Juventus v Palermo: Buffon expecting response

24 October 2014 15:42

Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon is expecting a response from his side when they host Palermo in Serie A on Sunday.

Juve – three-time defending Italian champions – lost their second UEFA Champions League match in a row on Wednesday, going down 1-0 to Olympiacos.

The result has put Juve’s spot in the competition’s last 16 – something they missed out on last year – in jeopardy.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side have had no such problems in Serie A this season, though, winning six of their seven matches to lead the league by one point.

Roma are snapping at their heels but a home clash against a struggling Palermo side presents an ideal chance for Juve to bounce back from their disappointment in Greece.

And that is what Buffon is after, telling the club’s official website: “We’re hungry to return to our pre-international break form.

“It was an important period in which we grew as a team, and I count the defeat against Atletico [Madrid] as part of that.

“We acquired something extra in terms of character.

“Getting back on track requires everyone to be on board and the desire to keep surprising.”

There was one positive for Juve in Greece, with Spanish forward Alvaro Morata looking the part in his first start for the club.

And Buffon was impressed, adding: “He was one of the highlights of the evening.

“In a matter of four or five moves, he showed us that he’s the type of player who can decide the game in any given second.

“He’s exactly what we need – an individual blessed with the talent of unpredictability, who can put the cat amongst the pigeons.”

Morata started alongside Carlos Tevez, with Fernando Llorente on the bench, and Allegri may opt for a similar approach in this contest.

The forward, who moved to Juve from Real Madrid in the last transfer window, has already scored one Serie A goal for his new club, as a substitute in a 3-0 win at Atalanta.

Juve defenders Andrea Barzagli and Martin Caceres are set to be sidelined with injury again.

Allegri’s men have won an incredible 22 successive home Serie A games, and take on a Palermo side scrapping away in 16th.

Palermo, who won Serie B last term to return to the top flight, beat Cesena 2-1 last Sunday for their first triumph of the season.

Credible draws against Sampdoria, Inter and Napoli have shown that Pierpaolo Bisoli’s side are no mugs, but their defence – which has conceded 15 goals in seven games – needs improvement.

And that record is sure to have Tevez licking his lips, as the Argentinian has already bagged six league goals this term.