Co-presented by

Serie A: Juventus will have to 'earn win against Torino family', says coach Sinisa Mihajlovic

Turin: Torino coach Sinisa Mihajlovic paraded 60-year-old fan "Socrates" and the club's kit man to underline the combined effort that will go into beating derby rivals Juventus on Sunday.

 Serie A: Juventus will have to earn win against Torino family, says coach Sinisa Mihajlovic

File photo of Torino coach Sinisa Mihajlovic. AFP

Serie A champions Juventus hold a four-point lead on Roma and AC Milan at the top but have worries over an injury-ravaged defence that leaked three goals in a shock reverse at Genoa a fortnight ago.

Torino are 11 points off the pace in seventh as they look for their first win over Juve since April 2015 when the "Granata", then under current Italy coach Giam Piero Ventura, ended a 20-year wait to beat their city rivals.

Although England goalkeeper Joe Hart and 10-goal striker Andrea Belotti have been key for Torino this season, Mihajlovic says other members of the Torino "family" will be pivotal.

"Renato Cornaglia, otherwise known as 'Socrates', 60 years old and a lifetime fan of Torino," Mihajlovic said.

"He saw our last scudetto win (in 1976) and relegation and has never given up on the club. Even if he doesn't have his boots, tomorrow he will be playing alongside us.

"And there's Luca Finetto, the kit man who is with us every day. He, too, will be playing tomorrow because our success doesn't just depend on the saves made by Hart or the goals of Belotti."

Mihajlovic, in his first season at the club, added: "Juventus won't just be playing against 11 players but the whole Torino family. They will have to earn a win against us.

"Whatever happens, we will walk off with our heads held high. The only thing I ask is for a great derby full of intensity and professionalism."

Juventus won both derbies last season on their way to a record-equalling fifth Serie A title, but injuries are stopping them pulling away from the chasing pack before Christmas this season.

Juve were without their legendary three-man "BBC" defence of Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini in a crucial 3-1 home win over Atalanta last week.

Massimiliano Allegri was forced to deploy a makeshift back three of Patrice Evra, Daniele Rugani and Mehdi Benatia as Juve, despite a dominant display on Wednesday, laboured to a 2-0 Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb.

While Barzagli and Bonucci are out till the New Year, Chiellini is expected to return for Sunday to marshal a makeshift defence that will be under the orders of captain and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

Allegri could again start with Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic up front after refusing to confirm if Paulo Dybala, who made his return from a six-week injury lay-off with a cameo appearance in midweek, is fit enough to start.

"I won't reveal our team, but I still have to decide on Dybala," said Allegri.

Thanks also to Iago Falque and Adem Ljajic, who have 12 league goals between them, Torino have the third most potent attack in Serie A.

But Allegri is also wary of his own side's habit of underperforming after midweek endeavours in the Champions League.

"We've lost three games after being involved in the Champions League, so I hope that's it finished now," he said.

Your guide to the latest seat tally, live updates, analysis and list of winners for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 542 constituencies on counting day of the general elections.

Updated Date: Dec 11, 2016 13:16:29 IST