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Pjanic wary of Atletico Madrid’s threat

Juventus v BSC Young Boys - UEFA Champions League Group H
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Miralem Pjanic admits Juventus need to improve their Champions League form as he suggested Atletico Madrid have a “similar philosophy” to the Serie A side.

The first leg of the Round of 16 is at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Wednesday evening.

And Pjanic is wary of the threat posed by Diego Simeone’s men owing to their tactics and style of play.

“Their philosophy is not easy to deal with at all, so it’s up to us to control both games and most importantly try to score a goal in Madrid,” the midfielder told Football Italia.

“Atleti do have a lot of similarities with Juve, as both teams are solid, allow few spaces and don’t concede many goals.

“They are very aggressive when marking or pressing opposition players, whereas we have stronger individual talents. That is where we must make the difference over the two legs.”

The Champions League Final this season will be played at the Wanda Metropolitano.

“They’ll be even more motivated because they want to play the Final on home turf, having played two in the last five years. They’ve got the same record reaching the Final in that period as Juve.”

Pjanic claims the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo means Juventus are among the favourites to win the Champions League, which would be their first since 1996.

“We feel strong, even if we’ve been knocked out of the Coppa Italia by Atalanta. Other than that, we’ve only had great results this season.

“There have been some more complicated matches lately, so we need to improve in two or three areas when facing these knockout ties.

“We’ve conceded too many goals recently and it is not like us. The team must defend as a unit and when I say all together, I really mean it. Even the strikers must participate in helping the defence.

“This is an important year and we’ve got to focus.”