MALMO, Sweden (Reuters) – Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said his team are not among the favourites to win this season’s Champions League, but insisted that should they reach at least the last eight they have every chance of going all the way.
The Turin club have appeared in the Champions League final twice in the last seven seasons but fell at the last-16 stage in their previous two campaigns.
“Juventus were considered favourites in recent times because of playing in those two finals,” Allegri told a news conference ahead of their Champions League opener in Malmo on Tuesday.
“Now, after speaking with the president, the goal is to get into the last eight after what has taken place in the last two seasons. Then when you get there, anything can happen. You have to try to win the Champions League from there.
“This year we are not among the favourites but it doesn’t mean that we don’t have the desire to win – they are two different things.”
After finishing fourth in Serie A last season under previous coach Andrea Pirlo, Juve have continued to struggle since Allegri returned to take charge for a second time in May.
They have one point from their opening three Serie A matches after losing 2-1 at Napoli on Saturday, something Allegri puts down to preventable mistakes.
“Things are not going well at the moment, despite the attitude of the team being right,” he added. “Individual mistakes have occurred too often.
“We will have to concede fewer set pieces and defend them better. On Saturday (against Napoli) we just made poor decisions all over the pitch. We have to concentrate tomorrow.”
Forwards Federico Chiesa and Federico Bernardeschi have been left out of the squad for the trip to Sweden, with Allegri confirming they have not shaken off injuries in time.
(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Ken Ferris)
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