Juve must now focus on domestic title, says Conte

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 March, 2013, 3:48am


Juventus' joy at reaching the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in seven years will quickly be archived as they turn their attentions to defending their Serie A title this weekend.

Juve reached the last eight of Europe's premier club contest with a 5-0 aggregate victory over Celtic, helped by Wednesday's 2-0 success at home.

Their progression was little more than a formality after their opening 3-0 success at Celtic Park and coach Antonio Conte has urged his players to focus on domestic matters.

Juve lead the table by six points from Napoli, who have proved inconsistent since January, and host European football-chasing Catania today.

But Conte does not want the delight at re-establishing themselves as one of the continent's strongest forces to sidetrack his players from the domestic campaign. "Now that we're in the quarter-finals, the Champions League is a dream that we want to continue cultivating," said Conte.

"But first we must think about Catania. We're the favourites in the league, which is only right, but we expect to have many challenges for which I expect more than ever to need everyone."

So far Juve have managed their twin objectives with panache, but their nearest rivals Napoli have only Serie A to play for, having been eliminated from the Europa League last month in a shocking 5-0 aggregate loss to Czechs Viktoria Plzen.

Napoli face a tricky weekend away match to Chievo where they have struggled in recent years, losing on their last two visits. Perhaps more alarming than history for coach Walter Mazzarri has been his side's recent slump. They have failed to win any of their last six games in all competitions and have drawn their last four in the league.