Buf­fon says Ju­ven­tus still far from the fin­ished prod­uct

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

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

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