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The defender has echoed his coach's call for the team to work hard on and off the pitch if they are to defend their Serie A crown and mount a challenge for the Champions League

Giorgio Chiellini has called on his Juventus team-mates to battle even harder this season if they are to challenge for silverware.

The reigning Serie A champions have thus far endured a miserable pre-season, including a 3-1 defeat to LA Galaxy that prompted coach Antonio Conte to question the work ethic of his players.

Chiellini has backed his boss's sentiments, urging his fellow Bianconeri stars to work hard both on and off the pitch in order to defend their domestic crown and mount a challenge in Europe.

"Conte is correct - talent needs to be nurtured on a daily basis with hard work,” the 28-year-old told Tuttosport.

“We know that you can only achieve certain targets by working. And we want to affirm our place in Italy and improve in Europe.

“Last season we beat the holders in Chelsea, dominating our home game with great authority in the Champions League. Obviously, though, when you play the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, you have to take them on at your physical best.”

Juventus face Lazio in the Supercoppa on Sunday and Chiellini is convinced their stuttering pre-season form will not affect their chances against the Biancoceleste.

 “It's normal to have tiredness and a lack of spark at this point of the season, but we are growing and we’ll certainly be ready for an important meeting on August 18," he continued.

“We want to win the Supercoppa as much as Lazio. We want to start the season on the right foot and, on Sunday, the pitch is where we will ultimately be doing the talking.”

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