Sarri plays down Champions League expectations
Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri has urged his players not to become obsessed with ending their Champions League drought this season.
It is 24 years snice the Old Lady last won Europe’s elite club competition while they have been beaten finalists on five occasions since their last success.
They were last in the final in the 2016-2017 campaign, when Real Madrid proved too good while Barcelona bet them 3-1 in 2014-15.
Juve were held to a 2-2 draw by Atletico Madrid in their opener and will want to take all three points when Bayer Leverkusen come calling on Tuesday evening.
Sarri knows how important Europe’s elite club competition is but wants his men to stay focused on domestic matters as well.
“The Champions League is really the top competition for a player and coach, but at the same time we should also have fun,” said the former Chelsea chief.
“The only objective I’ve set for myself is to get through the group, then we’ll see. We must be carefree when taking to the field. The Champions League mustn’t become an obsession.”
The Bianconeri’s Serie A dominance is being challenged by inter this season, with the Nerazzurri top of the standings after a perfect start to proceedings.
Antonio Conte’s men have 18 points from six games and lead Juve by two points at the early stage of the campaign.
Nobody in Turin will be too worried, however, as they have risen to every challenge over the past decade and are gunning for a night straight title this time round.
Neil Foster is an experienced journalist who specialises in cricket and rugby union. Neil also has a solid knowledge of tennis, golf and football.