Serie A

Palermo v Juventus: Lichtsteiner ready for crucial period

Stephan Lichtsteiner believes the fixtures in the run-up to Christmas could prove pivotal in Juventus’ bid to retain the Serie A title, with a trip to Palermo up next on Sunday.

Juve have won the last four Scudetti, but that run is under serious threat following a major close-season overhaul of the playing squad that has seen Massimiliano Allegri’s men make a slow start to the 2015-16 campaign.

Juventus' forward from Croatia Mario Man

Now, though, a run of 16 points from their last seven league matches has brought the champions back up to sixth place and within striking distance of the leading pack, who have all taken points off each other to keep the division close.

Leaders Inter are nine points ahead of Juventus, with the match against Palermo followed by crucial games against Lazio and Fiorentina, while the club are also in a strong position to finish top of their Champions League group following the home win over Manchester City last time out.

Juve have a brilliant record against Palermo having won their last six matches against them in Serie A without conceding a goal and Lichtsteiner is eager to see that continue to set up a title bid.

“We are expecting a tough game at a testing venue, but we will make sure we produce a strong performance as we have done in recent weeks,” the full-back told the club’s official website.

“We must believe in the Scudetto. Now we have to think about getting as many points as possible before Christmas, then see what happens in the New Year.

“In the Champions League we have done well, despite having the strongest and most difficult group

“We played a back-four in Manchester and won against City, then we played 3-5-2 at home and won, so that shows this team can play any system.”

New Palermo head coach Davide Ballardini secured an impressive 1-1 draw at Lazio in his

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