With the new season approaching Mario Yepes is under no illusions as to the task ahead for 2011 champions Milan.
The Colombian defender, who struggled with injury last term, is expected to have a greater role in Massimiliano Allegri’s side, but with less than two weeks until the first game against Sampdoria, Yepes knows the Rossoneri are one of a number of teams chasing Juventus.
“For me Juve are one step in front of the others, from what they did last year and the new players brought in since,” he told Gazzetta.tv.
“Then comes a group of good teams, but it’s still too early to say who will compete with the Bianconeri.”
Yepes made just 11 appearances in the 2011-12 campaign and 24 in total since joining from Chievo in 2010, but after a number of departures in the centre of defence, including lynchpin Thiago Silva and veteran Alessandro Nesta, the 36-year-old needs to step up.
The international also hopes moves can be made in the transfer market to help Milan claim its 19th Scudetto.
“At Milan there are many important players, also in terms of character, now we’ll see who comes by 31 August,” he added.
“We must think only to work and be ready for the debut in the League. We have worked well, winning three games out of four, it was a shame to lose to Real Madrid but right now they are stronger than us.
“The important thing is the defeat doesn’t change our attitude. It’s important we find the right harmony.
“We still have a team of experienced people that will help us make a good group for a good campaign.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.