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Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri warns against Champions League obsession

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has warned against an obsession with the Champions League as he unveiled a revamped side for Sunday's Turin derby against city rivals Torino.

Juventus — losing finalists twice in the last three editions of Europe's elite competition — were held 2-2 by Tottenham in the last 16 first round clash in Turin on Tuesday.

File image of Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri. Reuters

File image of Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri. Reuters

Allegri's side now turn their focus to their bid for a seventh straight Serie A title on Sunday, trailing leaders Napoli by one point.

"The Champions League must not be experienced as an obsession, because when you have an obsession, you will not win anything," said Allegri.

"I say everyone around Juventus should be very proud, because we have become stable in the top 10 European clubs.

"Our chances of progress are just the same as they were before the first leg," he insisted.

"We got a lot wrong in that game. Having said that, Tottenham have for years been the most prolific side in the Premier League with a strong defence and the top scorer (Harry Kane). They are not an easy team to face.

"The important thing now is to focus on Serie A and the Italian Cup semi-final, because there's a long way to go before March 6 and Wembley."

Juventus have won 17 out of their last 23 clashes with Torino — most recently a 2-0 Italian Cup quarter-final success in January. Torino's last win was in April 2015.

"The derby is always an important match, a key moment in the campaign. Also, three points tomorrow would allow us to stay in Napoli's slipstream," said Allegri.

Croatian forward Mario Mandzukic has been ruled out with fever while Italian winger Federico Bernardeschi is a doubt with a muscular problem.

"(Paulo) Dybala is in good condition, but not enough to start. He can probably play about 30 minutes. From next week, Blaise Matuidi will be available too," added Allegri.

"I can confirm Miralem Pjanic and Sami Khedira will start in midfield, but I have yet to decide who the third will be."

Veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will rest and return against Atalanta in the Italian Cup on February 28 with Pole Wojciech Szczesny starting.

Torino are unbeaten in five games since Walter Mazzarri replaced Sinisa Mihajlovic as coach, and have yet to concede a goal at home. They sit ninth, five points off the European places.

"Juve have won nine of their last 10 Serie A matches and drawn the other, conceding only one goal, so that says a lot about the difficulties we'll run into here," said Mazzarri.

"They never give up and are always hungry for the result. Then there is always the imponderable element, the incident that can change a game."


Updated Date: Feb 17, 2018 21:42 PM

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