Massimiliano Allegri says it would be “fantastic” for Juventus to knock Real Madrid out of the Champions League, but does not want his team to be distracted from the domestic prize of the Scudetto.
The draw for the last eight in Nyon threw up a repeat of last season’s final, a game Madrid won 4-1 in Cardiff in June to retain their European crown.
Allegri believes Zinedine Zidane’s squad are favourites to lift the trophy again this year, despite their failure to keep pace with Barcelona in LaLiga.
While excited by the tie, the Juve coach has warned his players not to become preoccupied by Madrid as they look to stay ahead of Napoli in the race for the Serie A title.
“Juventus against Real Madrid will be an eye-catching game, these are the type of matches that we work towards,” he told a news conference.
“Last year in the quarter-finals we beat Barcelona, maybe this year we will beat Real Madrid.
“They are the favourites to win the Champions League, so if we can beat them it would be fantastic. However, we must focus first on the task at hand, which is SPAL [on Saturday].
“After that we have the [international] break, then we have AC Milan, which at the moment is not an easy opponent, then we will think about Real Madrid.”
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) March 16, 2018
Juventus can move seven points clear at the summit if they make it 13 league wins in a row when they travel to relegation-threatened SPAL on Saturday.
They will be without Sami Khedira through illness, as well as long-term absentees Juan Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi and the suspended Medhi Benatia, but Allegri feels his squad is in good shape as Juve enter the final stages of a gruelling campaign.
“I’m certain that [Gianluigi] Buffon will play tomorrow, as will [Gonzalo] Higuain, who is in good shape, the rest we’ll have to see,” he added.
“I’m fortunate that I have a team of responsible players, to reach the goal of the championship you have to win these types of games and play with focus, patience, as well as technique.
“The team is growing physically and mentally, we are at a decisive stage of the season, in the last few games we have grown a lot and are improving.”
10 – No Italian sides have ever won the 1st leg of a Champions League quarter final away from home so far (3D 7L). Threat. pic.twitter.com/dJriRqAZje
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) March 16, 2018
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