Juventus former player Stephan Lichtsteiner spoke to TuttoJuve website, in a great interview. Here’s what he had to say:
Juve this season?
“Juve is in a phase in which they are building a new winning cycle, I think that sooner or later, a difficult year would arrive, and it’s normal.”
” Unfortunately, in football you cannot win forever: in my opinion you have to look at the glass half full, a Super Cup has already been won and there is a chance to win the Italian Cup, it’s not like you come home with nothing.”
“It’s clear that the environment has got used to winning well in recent years with the victories of the Scudetti, but it is never easy to win.”
“It must be said that Juve have always changed a bit over the years.”
Like the 2015/16 season?
“That season had started badly in the league, we thought the cycle was closed and instead we managed to win back.”
“When you make changes, you have to accept the idea that you can’t win again right away.”
“Honestly I’m seeing too much criticism, unfair, but the truth is that talking is always too easy. You need facts, management has always achieved great results.”
So we only have to say thanks to Juve for these years of victories?
“I agree, but we must not thank them just for this.”
“I think Juve must always be cheered by their supporters, even in difficult moments like this. Unfortunately it is not possible to do so at the stadium, the absence of an audience has taken away that, that was the thrust that the Stadium was able to guarantee.”
“My belief is that with Porto you would have managed to get through if there were fans at the Stadium, because at 2-1 the players would have been loaded by the environment.”
“Unfortunately, sometimes you have to eat hard bread too, the fans must accept it.”
What if the fans don’t trust the management anymore?
“For me it is right to place our trust in a management that has been winning for many years.”
“There is the strength to open a new cycle, perhaps to win the Champions League, which is main goal .”
“What I didn’t understand is why Juve got knocked out in the last three years by teams that are inferior and within their reach.”
“Excluding the year we left in the group (Galatasaray 2013), I remember that the teams that eliminated us were always the strongest in Europe like Bayern and Real.”
Is this the same fear that Allegri talked about?
“You need a little fear, because it is the fear of failure that pushes you to never give up.”
“It is always a disaster to leave the Champions League so early, but it is one thing to get knocked out by a top club and another by a team below you.”
“My Juve was not intimidated, perhaps they were not convinced of being able to do great things in the Champions League. And then we succeeded, the results in this sense speak for us.”
My opinion on Pirlo’s work?
“It is difficult to judge, in all honesty I did not have the opportunity to follow and see many games.”
“Last year Juve risked losing the Scudetto, so it is normal to meet again teams capable of being able to blow the scepter.”
“I think we have to congratulate Inter because they understood that to win they had to buy Juventini. Let’s remember that after the storm, the sun always comes out. ”
Do you think Pirlo should stay?
“Yes, Andrea deserves another chance.”
“The management knew what the risks were when they chose him as coach, so they will surely have planned not to win the championship.”
“If he were to reach the Champions League qualification, I think it would be correct to allow him to work for another year.”
Who should the team be built around?
“From the outside it is difficult to be able to answer, I don’t see the training and the spirit of the boys.”
“Within this team there are players that we must not give up, one of them is Ronaldo who is the strongest in the world together with Messi and Ibrahimovic. It cannot be questioned.”
“Another name of the future is clearly de Ligt, I also like Juan a lot and his flexibility is a fundamental skill in this football.”
“For me we don’t have to question everyone or start from scratch. there should not be a revolution but the champions will have to be rebuilt.”
“My Juve had a great hard core, unfortunately players like Andrea and Claudio are no longer there but there are still those who can convey the Juve spirit.”
“More than the name, what counts in this sport is the mentality. In my experience at the Arsenal I saw that there was a lot of quality, but they weren’t thirsty for victory like here.”
“We need to rebuild the hard core, I think players will have to arrive who know the value of sacrifice and are willing to never give up.”
“There are many young players, but there must be a guide. Gigi and Chiello can lend a big hand in this. ”
“I think it is important to find strong players and not to overpay, a bit like Juve did with me, Andrea, Mirko, Arturo and all the others.”
“At the moment it is difficult, things have changed and the competition has increased.”
“Also for me. it was important to grow up alongside top level champions, to have lived in their own locker room and to have known their thoughts. And I remember very well the way they worked, they were animals (he smiles).”
Pogba back to Juve? Would I like that to happen?
“Now, where do I sign? It was a great loss for my Juve, it would be fantastic to see him again in Juventus, especially for us Juventini, we will be very happy with this.”
“It’s just an economic question, we’ll see what happens.”
The Dybala situation?
“Paulo is a champion, a player who is always able to make a difference. If Juventus have been in such difficulty, it is also because they have suffered from his absence.”
“His return will be very important, he will give a great hand for this final part of the season.”
Which Juve is your favourite from the ones you played in?
“I don’t have a favorite Juventus, but my seasons weren’t all the same.”
“The first year there was more pressure than the last year when I was a bit freer.”
“Juve came from two seventh places, for my part, it was a bit of the fear of failing and not being up to it. There is not a single moment that I would not want to relive, because the difficulties have helped me to train myself even more.”
You were a “bad guy” but never made controversy about your situation in 2016?
“It’s true, on the pitch I was totally different. I couldn’t be a good guy, I tried it but the performance wasn’t quite convincing.”
“The more they hated me, the better.”
“I didn’t agree with some of the choices made at that time, but out of respect for the club and the fans I decided not to feed the controversy in any way.”
“You have to have style, I have to be an example for my children and for my family. treat yourselfself well, your behavior must always be as professional as possible.”
“This matters more than winning and earning money.”