Matteo Darmian is under no illusions about the size of the task in Turin on Wednesday, when Manchester United visit Juventus in the UEFA Champions League.
The full-back played for Juve’s cross-city rivals Torino for four years between 2011 and 2015, and scored the winner in his last Turin derby appearance before joining United.
Darmian knows better than most how difficult it is to beat the Bianconeri at their own Allianz Stadium and has warned the Reds will have to be fully focused to win the return group-stage game.
“I think Juventus are a very big club, one of the biggest clubs in the world,
“ he told MUTV's Mark Sullivan.
"For sure, they are the biggest club in Italy and they have won the last seven Serie A (titles) so everyone wants to beat them. They are a very good team and it will be a difficult game.
Juventus' statistics for the current season back that up, as they have won 13 of their 14 games so far, drawing the other one, and currently sit top of Champions League Group H with nine points.
“They have good organisation and are a compact team so it’s difficult to score against them,
“ acknowledged Darmian. ”So we have to be focused and try to score and win the game.
Last month's contest between the sides marked a return to Old Trafford for United's former no.7, Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined the Italian giants in the summer for a club-record fee.
Although the Portuguese star did not score in the Bianconeri’s 1-0 win in Manchester, he was instrumental in setting up Paulo Dybala’s winning goal after his cross found its way through to the Argentinian inside United's box. Darmian is aware that despite being 33 years old, Ronaldo can still provide such game-changing moments.
“Cristiano was the biggest signing of the summer transfer window,” he said.
“We all know the quality of Cristiano, but he’s not the only one we have to look out for because they have a lot of good players, not only up front but also in midfield and defence.”
Wednesday's game will be United’s first visit to the Allianz Stadium since Juventus moved there in 2011 and, according to Darmian, the Reds can expect a familiar type of atmosphere.
“It’s like the English stadiums now because the fans are all around the pitch but they’re also close,
“ said the defender.The crowd is passionate, and of course it can have a key role so we have to expect a very tough game. But we have to be ready and try to win there.”
Reading this in our app? If not, you might miss some exclusive features not found on ManUtd.com. Download the Official App here.