Salem Radio Network News Thursday, February 22, 2024

Sports

Soccer-Juve must channel ‘bitterness’ of missing out on Champions League – Allegri

(Reuters) – Juventus are very disappointed not to be playing in European competition this season, manager Massimiliano Allegri said on Saturday, adding that he hoped to harness that bitterness and turn it into fuel for a successful domestic campaign.

Juve finished seventh in Serie A last term due to a 10-points deduction for alleged false accounting practices and qualified for UEFA’s third-tier Conference League.

They were then banned from UEFA competition in 2023-24 for breaching licensing and Financial Fair Play rules, meaning they will miss out on Europe for the first time in 12 years.

“We are very disappointed not to be able to play in the European cups, and the Champions League in particular. It’s never nice not participating, also because we had achieved our qualification on the field,” Allegri told reporters ahead of Sunday’s Serie A season-opener at Udinese.

“We will have to transform the bitterness into positive energy and anger to give everything in the league and in the Italian Cup.

“Technically, not having the commitment in the middle of the week will allow us to have more days to work on the pitch and to prepare for the matches that await us … We must do our best to qualify for it and play in the Champions League next season.”

Juve’s bid for the Serie A title will be boosted by their acquisition of a new sports director in Cristiano Giuntoli, who ended an eight-year spell at Napoli after helping them end their 33-year wait for the Scudetto last season.

“Cristiano has fully integrated into our set-up since he arrived. He was very well-received and found a group that was available and prepared to work. He is a very important figure within the club,” Allegri said.

The Juve coach added that midfielder Paul Pogba’s fitness will be assessed ahead of the match at Udinese, while forward Moise Kean will not play after picking up a knock.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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