Buffon says Juventus still far from the finished product
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is demanding more of his team, even though they are top of Serie A and lead their Champions League group.
A win at home to Olympique Lyonnais will take Juventus into the last 16 of the Champions League with two games to spare but Buffon said they also need to think about the more difficult challenges that lie ahead. “We need to realise the current level won’t be enough, so we need to take steps forward,” he said after Saturday’s 2-1 win over Napoli.
“If we go into the next round in Europe, it will get really tough from March and we’ll have no more time to work on it then. We need to make those improvements now.”
Juventus have won the last five Serie A titles but, although they reached the 2015 Champions League final, their performances in Europe have not matched the standards set by Italy’s top teams in the past.
They were knocked out it the round of 16 by Bayern Munich last season, also lost to the Bavarians in the quarter-finals in 2012/13 and failed to make it past the group stage in 2013/14.
“We want to build a bright future and one that lasts as long as possible, both in Italy and in Europe,” said the 38-year-old Buffon. “(Gonzalo) Higuain’s arrival has made us stronger but it depends how far we want to go.
“This mentality is may be enough if the idea is to win the title again in Italy. If I think about a quarter-final, semi-final or a Champions League final against the likes of Bayern Munich or Barcelona, then this is not enough.” Juventus, who have yet to concede a goal in Group H, have seven points from three games, ahead of Sevilla on goal difference, and four clear of their French opponents.
They will defend an 18-match unbeaten home record in Europe, a run stretching back to their 2-0 defeat by Bayern Munich more than three years ago. They have not lost at home in any competition since Udinese beat them on the opening day of last season in August last year. — Reuters
TURIN: From left, Juventus’ Gonzalo Higuain, Leonardo Bonucci and Moise Kean attend a training session ahead of today’s Champions League, Group H soccer match against Lyon, in Turin, Italy, yesterday. — AP