Soccer-Pirlo calls on Juve to find top form against smaller teams

·2 min read
Serie A - Torino v Juventus

(Reuters) - Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said his side need to show the same attitude and spirit against all teams and not just perform in the big matches ahead of the champions' Serie A clash with Genoa on Sunday.

Juventus have fallen 12 points behind leaders Inter Milan having dropped points against lowly Torino and Benevento in recent matches and it looks increasingly unlikely they can make it 10 successive league titles this season.

Juve overcame in-form Napoli in a tough midweek clash, and Pirlo wants his side to put on the same kind of showing on Sunday against another team they are expected to beat, 13th-placed Genoa.

"It is much easier to find energy for the big matches," Pirlo told a news conference. "Instead we must have the same attitude and spirit against the other teams like tomorrow against Genoa.

"The attitude and the will from the other night (against Napoli) must be equally done tomorrow."

Argentine striker Paulo Dybala was on target for the first time since early January in the midweek win over Napoli.

The 27-year-old has endured a frustrating season with injuries and has not always been first choice, leading to Dybala being linked with a move away from Turin in the Italian media.

However, Pirlo insisted the player is still very much in his thoughts.

"I've always said Dybala is an important player and unfortunately I haven't had him at my disposal very much this season," Pirlo added. "Let's look at the present, because that is more important than the future.

"He still has a year left on his contract, so we will have him here next season. Dybala is a player who makes the difference. I do hope to be able to use Cristiano Ronaldo, Alvaro Morata and Dybala together at some point."

(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Toby Davis)