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Allegri dismisses talk of Champions League triumph

SoccerNews in Serie A 13 Sep 2016

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Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri has dismissed suggestions that his side are favourites to triumph in this season’s Champions League.

The Serie A champions – who have won their opening three domestic fixtures of 2016-17– start their Champions League campaign with a Group H clash against Europa League holders Sevilla at Juventus Stadium on Wednesday.

However, Allegri was quick to shrug off assertions that Juve, finalists in 2014-15, should be expected to win a trophy that they have not lifted since 1996, insisting that their main focus for the season is claiming a sixth successive Scudetto.

“Calling us favourites for the Champions League is a little excessive,” Allegri said. “We’re amongst a clutch of sides who could win the trophy.

“Our main aim for this season is the Scudetto – number six would enable us to enter into legendary status.

“This season’s first hurdle to cross is qualification for the Champions League knockout stages. It’s important we start well.

“Tomorrow’s game will be tough. Sevilla have changed their style of play and are now more attacking.

“There’s no point in thinking about what could happen further down the line. Let’s take each game as it comes.

“We will have tough moments throughout the season. We must keep our cool and fix our eyes on the end goal.”

One player who Allegri has backed to be particularly effective in Europe this term is Mario Mandzukic, who won the Champions League with Bayern Munich in 2013.

“Mandzukic possesses a great international experience,” added Allegri, who also confirmed that full-back Patrice Evra – yet to make an appearance this season – will start in Turin on Wednesday.

“[Mario] has won the Champions League, so he represents a real asset to us.”

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