Juve approaching 'must-win' time

BY foxsports • January 22, 2010

Juventus' home meeting with former boss Claudio Ranieri and his Roma side is approaching 'must-win' status as the faltering Bianconeri battle to stay in contention for the Champions League places.

A visit from Ranieri and a side he has lifted above Juve in the table will be awkward for coach Ciro Ferrara as he faces increased chatter about his own future in Turin, and a defeat could prove detrimental.

The heat was turned up on Ferrara after a 3-0 home loss to Milan a couple of weeks ago, but he got a reprieve before overseeing a convincing 3-0 Coppa Italia victory over Napoli that appeared to strengthen his position.

But the questions immediately returned last weekend with a 1-0 loss to Chievo in Verona that saw Juve drop down to fifth place.

Ferrara has responded with something of a bunker mentality this week, with little said by either him or his players.

But the end result could see some new tricks being tried out tomorrow night.

"It's an important moment of our season," he said.

"I wanted this week behind closed doors to work with much more confidence with the boys and to try some new things without giving benefits to the opponents."

However, Ferrara is not helped by a lengthy injury list, with Vincenzo Iaquinta, Mauro Camoranesi, Martin Caceres, David Trezeguet, Sebastien Giovinco, Christian Poulsen and Luca Marrone all still missing.

There are also doubts over Zdenek Grygera, Nicola Legrottaglie, Mohamed Sissoko, Diego, Fabio Grosso and Claudio Marchisio, while Felipe Melo is suspended.

While Juve are spluttering, Roma are cruising right now, and head to Turin on the back of three successive victories, and with their sights set firmly on catching second-placed AC Milan.

Juve's best hope is that their poor away form - they have won only twice on the road this season - continues, as a defeat to the man they sacked to make way for Ferrara would be particularly galling.

But it would no doubt also be highly satisfying for Ranieri, who insisted this match was not about him proving Juve wrong for sacking him.

"I have no desire for revenge," he said. "I will go and meet some great players and see them all with pleasure.

"We know how difficult it is to beat Juventus. We know we are in a good period of form but we also are aware of the dangers of that. But I am thinking only about Roma."

However, it has not escaped his notice that all the pressure is on his opponent going into the game.

"I am calm," he said. "My only concern is to bring Roma to the top of the table for our fans."

Ranieri could be boosted by the return of Francesco Totti and Philippe Mexes, although both remain doubtful after injury.

Max Tonetto, Stefano Okaka Chuka and Marco Andreolli all remain out.

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