Barzagli: Juve can cope without Pirlo

The defender is confident that the midfielder's absence will not see the Bianconeri's strong run of form falter heading towards the winter break
Andrea Barzagli is confident Juventus will cope without Andrea Pirlo after the midfielder was ruled out indefinitely with ligament damage.

The Italy veteran picked up the medial knee injury in the Bianconeri's win over Udinese on Sunday and is expected to be out of action for at least six weeks, though the Turin club have declined to set a return date for the midfielder.

With the likes of Claudio Marchisio, Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal available play in central midfield for Antonio Conte's men, Barzagli has total confidence that the Serie A leaders can continue their fine domestic form.

"Andrea is important to us," the 32-year-old told reporters at the club's annual Castagna d'Oro ceremony, with Vidal the winner of the best player of 2012-13 after Pirlo won the award - voted for by fans - last year.

"He is one of the best players in the world and gives us a lot of experience. Fortunately, we have other players who are strong in midfield, though admittedly there is no one else quite like him.

"But we are still a great team and we will try to impose our game on the opposition without him."

Barzagli was delighted with how Juve fought to a 1-0 triumph over Udinese at the weekend, with Fernando Llorente's late goal securing all three points, and he praised Gianluigi Buffon in particular for keeping them in the game.

"It was a crucial victory, coming in the last minute of a hard battle," he added. "We were good, but lucky, and we believed in ourselves.

"Udinese proved themselves to be in better condition than us physically and almost made us suffer in two situations where Gigi [Buffon] made the difference."

Juve head into Friday's visit to Bologna on the back of six straight victories in the league and top the table by three points over second-placed Roma, who have fallen back somewhat after their impressive run of 10 wins on the trot at the start of the season.