De Ligt set to make Juventus debut in Singapore
Juventus' new signing Matthijs de Ligt is set to play his first game for the Italian giants in Singapore when they face Tottenham Hotspur at the National Stadium on Sunday (July 21).
At a press conference at Bishan Stadium on Saturday, Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri said: “Until (today) de Ligt hasn't trained with teammates yet but he'll definitely see some action tomorrow.”
It has been a whirlwind few days for the 19-year-old defender, who completed his 75 million-euro (S$114.5m) move from Ajax Amsterdam to the Turin side on Thursday and joined his new teammates on a flight to Singapore the following day.
After reaching Singapore on Saturday, the Dutch centre-back had his first training session with Cristiano Ronaldo and company at Bishan Stadium, following the press conference.
Defender Mattia de Sciglio commented that the new signings de Ligt, Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey “have been working hard”.
“The new players have all applied themselves well and are all very dedicated in understanding the team. We already had a strong team to begin with and now, with the new players coming in, we are even stronger,” he said.
Sarri added: “At the moment, we are working very hard on creating a strong game identity, and then try to win with that identity. We are well-aware that we are the ones with the highest chance of being the strongest team.
“But in Europe (and the Champions League), it is a whole other story. We are working on making our team stronger but other teams in Europe are doing the same. So, we have to work hard.”
The first test of their pre-season comes against Spurs on Sunday. When asked what can be expected, Sarri sought to play down expectations.
He said: “Not a great game because of the tough weather and the team are very tired. We are at a very early stage of our preparation whereas Spurs have started earlier.
“They have been working with Mauricio Pochettino for the fifth year now so they have been
working together longer.
“What I’d like to see from the team is their mental approach to the game. Things on the pitch can be fixed but the mental approach is more to the player. This is very important now that we’re 30 days away from the league and 40 days from the transfer season.”
The former Chelsea manager meant business, spoke with a stern voice and also brushed off a question about Paul Pogba, who has been recently linked with a return to Turin.
“I am not the technical director,” he said, firmly. “I like the player but I don’t know the situation so I don’t want to speak about a player of Manchester United.”