Juventus Manager Andrea Pirlo expects to have Paulo Dybala available again as Juventus bring the curtain down on 2020 at home to Fiorentina on Tuesday.
Paulo Dybala, who has been the subject of transfer speculation amid tricky contract negotiations, missed Saturday’s big 4-0 win at Parma due to a thigh injury.
The Argentina international has started only five games in Serie A this term, making eight appearances in the competition in total.
His production when on the pitch has also been underwhelming, with one goal from 23 shots while failing to register an assist despite creating 14 chances.
But the Manager, Pirlo talked up the forward’s talents at the weekend and was optimistic he would return against Fiorentina, with encouraging news following on Monday.
“Someone is better: The striker trained a bit with the team today,” Pirlo told Juventus TV. “He is better and I think he can come with us for the match tomorrow.
“[Merih] Demiral is better, too, but Arthur is not available, because he still feels pain where he took the blow against Atalanta.”
Juventus are one of only two teams in Europe’s ‘top five’ leagues without defeat this season, although they trail Serie A leaders Milan – the other unbeaten side – by four points having drawn six times.
The Bianconeri have not registered back-to-back clean sheets since June – drawing 1-1 with Atalanta before the Parma game – and Pirlo wants to see a more consistent level of performance.
“We are growing rapidly, but it is important to have consistency in the games and the victories,” he said. “Only with this can you go on and improve.
“We are doing well and we are improving game after game, but we still have great room for improvement.”
Opponents Fiorentina are winless in eight in Serie A, but Pirlo considers the strugglers “a very good team” with “a great class player” in Franck Ribery.
The Juve coach is also familiar with his opposite number, having played under Cesare Prandelli – appointed in November and still waiting on a first victory – with the Italy national team.
“I had a lot of good times with him,” Pirlo said. “We had a great European Championship [in 2012], losing the final against Spain.
“He is a kind-hearted person who I had the pleasure of working with for several years, including a World Cup, a Confederations Cup.
“So, I see him again with great pleasure and he deserves something more on the pitch right now.”
Andrea Pirlo added: “We will have to be careful because it is the last game of 2020 and we need to finish in the best way.”
Juventus are the side against which Fiorentina have lost the most games (78) and conceded the most goals (266) in Serie A.