Massimiliano Allegri has praised his Juventus squad for clinching a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League with a game to spare – but has urged them not to let their standards slip against Sevilla.
Last season’s beaten finalists know a draw or a sixth straight win in all competitions will secure them top spot in Group D, meaning home advantage in the second leg of their last-16 tie.
The Serie A side are without the services of Mario Mandzukic and Patrice Evra, who have been left at home due to illness and injury respectively, with a crucial league clash against second-placed Fiorentina to come on Sunday.
However, Allegri is demanding the Juve players who have travelled to Spain remain focused on the task in hand.
“There is absolutely no way we’ll be thinking about Fiorentina. All of our focus is on Sevilla,” he said at his pre-match media conference.
“We want to maintain our unbeaten run in Champions League Group D and avoid a tougher last-16 draw.
“Compared to last year’s group stage, we’ve enjoyed a better Champions League this time around. It’s important to remain unbeaten.”
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon confirmed Juventus will not take Sevilla lightly, even though the Liga side – who have lifted the Europa League for the last two years – prop up the rest in the Group D table.
“We’ve shown that we’re capable of holding our own against anyone in Europe. Last year proved just that,” the Italy international said.
“We’ve plenty of respect for Sevilla. They’ve achieved a lot in their history on the European stage.
“It would be a shame if we didn’t try and push for top spot and came away with regrets.”