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Juventus v Manchester City: Preview
Published : 16 Dec 2010 10:33:35Rss feed
Juventus boss Luigi Del Neri feels it would be wrong to draw wider
conclusions about Italian football on the strength of Serie A teams'
poor performances in the Europa League.
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The Bianconeri head into the match against Group A leaders Manchester City already with no chance of qualifying, as they are three points adrift of second-placed Lech Poznan with an inferior head-to-head record.
It is a situation mirrored elsewhere in the tournament with Palermo and Sampdoria also eliminated and only Napoli still alive going into the final round of group games.
Asked about the implications for Italian football, Del Neri said: "Our soccer is growing up. I look at Juventus and we are out of it, but not put back in our rightful place.
"We have lost, but we made a good impression in Manchester, or in Poland, where we tried to win despite hazardous weather conditions.
"I think my team played a more than respectable Europa League, besides facing many matches in a time of rebuilding."
With nothing to play for and an eye on Sunday's Serie A game at Chievo, Del Neri will field an under-strength line-up.
However, he insisted on www.juventus.com: "It's not true we'll play only young players. Obviously, at this moment, the match in Chievo is more important to us, but we'll try to play our part anyway, because we have the strength and the quality to achieve a good result and we'd like to win a match in this round."
Juve have drawn all five of their matches to date. Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has left both Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli at home.
Mancini has chosen to rest a number of senior players with qualification assured and an important Barclays Premier League match against Everton to come on Monday.
Jo is the only senior striker in the group as Emmanuel Adebayor is still carrying a knock and Roque Santa Cruz is not on their squad list.