Sunday February 17 2013
The Euro problem

Antonio Conte complains it’s not fair that Juventus have to play three games in seven days, but Susy Campanale warns that’s the price you pay for being a top club.

Last season Juventus won the Scudetto unbeaten and not even the most fervent fan can deny their absence from the European stage had something to do with that. I am not taking anything away from Antonio Conte’s achievements when I say it undoubtedly helps to have only one game to focus on per week, a whole seven days to train, study and prepare for a single opponent. Playing in Europe brings prestige, success and a great deal of money, but it takes away an awful lot from a team too.

Conte demands “a little more respect for a club that is taking Italy forward in Europe,” but there is only so much that can be done in a packed fixture list. Teams all over the continent play three games in seven days and do not complain. What should Napoli say, after playing in the Europa League on Thursday evening and again on Sunday afternoon?

I will say that Serie A makes it considerably more difficult to balance the competitions than other top Divisions around Europe. All you have to do is look at the standings. Barcelona are 15 points clear at the top of La Liga. Manchester United can boast a 12-point gap from their closest rivals. Bayern Munich sit on a 15-point cushion and Paris Saint-Germain are five points clear with a game in hand. The strength in depth in Serie A is proving to be a real problem for our co-efficient, as handling the two tournaments simultaneously becomes extremely difficult. 

Napoli are the perfect example, for last season they chose to play their best team in the Champions League and emerged from the Group of Death with flying colours, but the price they had to pay was not qualifying for the tournament again. Wary of repeating that slide down the standings, Walter Mazzarri and his men try to muddle along in the Europa League as best they can, rotating the squad and taking long tea breaks during the game. The upshot of that is a 3-0 home defeat to Viktoria Plzen, but a genuine Scudetto challenge too. Just look at Udinese, who seemed to greet their Europa League exit with a sigh of blessed relief and now look a completely different team.

The only team in recent memory to have united Serie A and Champions League success was Inter in 2010, but they are still trying to recover from that strain to this day. Milan have won the European Cup seven times, but only once – in 1993-94 – did they pair that with the Scudetto. The Double has been achieved 23 times by 15 different clubs, but only three of those were Italian (the other being Inter in 1965).

Yes, Serie A makes it tougher to remain competitive in Europe, but while the Division continues to have 20 teams and the fixture list stays so stupidly packed, there’s not much we can do about it. As Vladimir Petkovic said: “We wanted the bicycle, so now let’s get pedalling.”

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Have your say...
i don't see a problem with the way the italian system works.It's spreading the wealth so to speak. Napoli, and to a lesser extent Lazio, challenging for the title would be like Tottenham and Everton, or Valencia and Atletico being classed as Genuine title contenders. It's the toughest league in the world no matter what rhe wage bills are.
on the 24th February, 2013 at 5:49am
Hope Mazzari is happy now! He says that he respects this cup...what crap! No respect for the Europa league at all as seen by his team selections from the very first game. Like any Napoli fan I am disgusted by the performances in this cup by the team. No fight at all and fans should boycott the games in future. The only hope now is if we can win the scudetto but we will need to show some fight for it!
on the 21st February, 2013 at 10:26pm
on loan viktor on loan son that's all wait until the summer lad as i said you will be selling to bring in new players juventus dont have to sell because they are the most stable and best run club in italy unlike your mob i was laughing at milans crisis it was comical to say the least in fact i couldnt give a monkies about any other club in Europe other than juventus
on the 20th February, 2013 at 8:58pm

Just like you brought in bendtner?
on the 20th February, 2013 at 3:16pm
You totally missed out on the TV rights factor. The only reason Juve had to play on Saturday was that there was no other decent match ups that weren't involved in Europe. Juve are entitled to complain as everone else does so I don't see why you single them out. I think the better blog would have been whether Conte knowing the risk of fatigue, should have used fresher players. His use of the squad is one of my few question marks, but hindsight is a benefite.
on the 19th February, 2013 at 11:58pm
balo hasn't proved anything yet to much money to young hes attitude is awful and don't blab about the euros mate i can name numerous players that have played a good euros and world cup but flopped at club level i mean really come on now like i said honey moon period milan not strict enough for that kid pal i dont rate vucinec never have you forget juventus have got most of their recent players for nothing, they will bring in another big player in the summer milan probably be selling theirs lol
on the 19th February, 2013 at 6:24pm
@ac milan fan
lolol your whining about milan winning the champions league .who cares !!!!!! . blah blah blah we have seven champions league titles . the objective of any strong team is to win a title . any title . juve have one more .keep it up and youll start to remind me of liverpool lololol !!!!!!! anyways thats a bit harsh and as i said i have nothing against milan and think they are a good team . but for you own good .please stop hating .
on the 19th February, 2013 at 3:34am
@ victor .

juve have won more titles overall than milan . soooo whats your piont. milan is a good team . but they are not better than juve . not in serie A for sure .
on the 19th February, 2013 at 3:21am
I can only say that Juve & Conte had forgotten how CL & Serie A works in the "good old days"...
on the 19th February, 2013 at 12:01am

"spoiled kid"?

if you referring to Balo your so way off. He has more skills then all Juve strikers combined. Period. Are you kidding? Balotelli and SES vs Anelka and Vucinic. Go figure. Keep complaining, Juve seem to be better at that currently then winning their games.
on the 18th February, 2013 at 9:48pm
Viktor, you are unable to read a clock. The clear images are all over newspaper and internet. Juve players bitching at ref, game over and 48:56 on the clock. You have never been one to live in reality.
on the 18th February, 2013 at 9:39pm
I am still waiting on a blog from Suzy on the gited 93rd minute PK milan got against Udinese.
I'm afraid she will not write about that one.
on the 18th February, 2013 at 8:15pm
by the way as for Roma winning the league in two years lol lol lol Roma couldn't win a raffle, i heard all this when inter beat juve 3 1 where are they now i don't hear the inter fans no more does anyone and you lot have zero revenue nothing, juventus will get stronger each year because of the one thing that you lot dont possess which would be a stadium owned by guess who juventus lol lol lol your miles behind juventus miles.
on the 18th February, 2013 at 7:17pm
as for the game against roma totti is a disgrace that tackle on pirlo sums him up hes always done dirty sly tackles like that he shouldnt of even been on the pitch after that but then again hes spitting incident against poulsen says it all typical rome typical roma player.juventus need to start without vucinec he has to be the laziest player in the team i personally would start with anelka and matri anelka done more in the 20 minutes he had on the pitch than vucinec in the last two games.
on the 18th February, 2013 at 7:12pm
lol lol lol conte has a valid point i dont know why milan fans are beating the drum about this,you need all the favours you can get i mean your club is run that well sell your best players buy a spoilt kid on a honey moon period at the moment but wont be long before he goes missing.then plead poverty and sell your team again lol no pressure on milan in 3rd place is there only the teams at the very top have to deal with pressure which would be juventus keep barking roma inter,milan.
on the 18th February, 2013 at 7:08pm
All Conte said was Serie A should make their schedule easier for teams playing in Euro competitions. I don't think anyone should disagree with that.
on the 18th February, 2013 at 4:58pm

Milan are currently third and not fourth. I can bring up our track record in CL which is superior to Juves but I dont. I have nothing against Juve. I DONT like whiners and moaners,which lately have been Juves new task. Complaining about pent, ref decisions, scheduled games, harassing referees, list goes on... Enjoy watching Juve? Like I said in earlier post and I know there are a of people sharing this opinion, they do not play entertaining football. So enjoy? Not really.
on the 18th February, 2013 at 4:01pm
@ victor

does it really matter since milan are 4th and juve are 1st . when milan is 1st then talk . when milan is on their way to their 31st serie A title then talk . until then sit back , relax and enjoy watching juve . lol i have no problem with milan victor but why do you dislike juve . thay have not done anything to you or anyone else . chill out and just accept that your team is not the best in italy .
on the 18th February, 2013 at 1:59pm
It is funny when anti-juve fans get cornered with facts they came out with anything non-fact based comment.. Like one comment before mine.. Haters gonna hate.. Hahaha..
on the 18th February, 2013 at 11:40am
Conte crying as usual, Rube fans crying about an author they don't like yet continuously read and comment on her articles. Conte's hair piece is looking as ridiculous as ever.
on the 18th February, 2013 at 9:32am
Fact, Milan never played on Saturday after CL, and never on Sunday before CL in fact they played twice on Friday (on 30 Nov against Catania and last Friday against Parma and still they will play another Friday on 8 March against Genoa) so your claim about the Serie A packed list is simply crap myth!

Another fact, Juve played away against Genoa on Sunday 16 Sept before traveling to play Chelsea on Wednesday for their first CL game, yet they didn’t complain.
on the 18th February, 2013 at 9:15am
Conte asked a simple question, why Juve have to play on Saturday and not Sunday after an away game on the CL?!!! In my opinion it is a valid question. The English and Spanish teams play on Saturday before CL and Sunday after CL. and still Winger, Sir Alex and Mourinho complained many times about their packed fixtures. Why is it big deal when it comes from Conti and Juve!!!!!

Roma played well and deserved the victory. Its just not fair for all the players to have short break.
on the 18th February, 2013 at 9:13am
More Juve bashing... Zzzz... Jealously will consume you ragazzi.
on the 18th February, 2013 at 8:18am
So Milan tifosi are coming out and tell Conte to 'stop whining' while they got a favor from FIGC who moved their game early so they can have better CL prep, what bunch of hypocrites.

The actual real question here is why Lazio and Milan got their game rescheduled and not Juve? Ah yes, because Juve is the 'Top Team', so they dont need a reschedule.

Susy and all the Milanisti should just take good look around before pointing their dirty finger to Juve and tell them what to do/say.
on the 18th February, 2013 at 2:54am
@Alex R

roma beat juve only because the tired and you claim scudetto in 2 years? how many times when juve played on their level juve trashed you with 4 goals? count please. LOL at roma fans

Conte make a valid point, juve in ucl is also take italy name to the ucl, more day rest is needed to support any team.

So its better for Milan to play friday and the ucl on tue, but its ok for juve to play on sat and play ucl on tue?

Wheres the equal treatment here ? they both represent italy
on the 18th February, 2013 at 2:42am
Juve fans:
1. Stop whining you were outclassed
2. Don't blame the CL, every good team will find a way to play every 3 days.
3. It's called the CHAMPIONS league for a reason. Juve obviously don't deserve to be in it if they are just going to complain about it.
on the 18th February, 2013 at 2:13am
Susy's view is too simple & narrow.

I'm Juventino but Conte complains too much & should take responsibility. Last season said he'd prefer the challenge of CL rather than not. In the past week he clearly didn't rotate team enough. That was bigger problem than our calendar. I blame him for poor match v Roma.

Issue is that Lega should support teams in UEFA better with fixturing. Our last matches should have been Fri & Sun, not Sat & Sat. Teams in EL should play on Mon. Nap & Inter sufferered too.
on the 18th February, 2013 at 1:45am
I think Conte needs to think about his squad players more. He talks about Juve needing to play as team, and he is right about that, but they need to be a team of 20 men, not just 11. Right after the celtic game, and he plays the same defenders, the same two strikers, Pirlo, Vidal- only 2 new players. Why not use Marrone, Quag'la, Giovinco, Giacherini? If these players arent good enough to cover for physically, mentally (and crucially emotionally) tired players, then why are they at Juventus?
on the 18th February, 2013 at 1:01am
Juventus' squad is not as strong as Barcelona, Real, Bayern, or Manchester United, but our first choice 11, in a one-off game, is a match for any of these teams. January and February were always going to be tough, Chiellini and Asamoah missing and the added European and Coppa games. The winter break training was designed for the team to be strong during the run-in, like last season when we were unstoppable during the last 2 months. Do Napoli really believe they can beat us to the Scudetto???
on the 18th February, 2013 at 12:54am
@All Juve haters, im not going to name each one of you, but you know who you are.

Stop being childish!! Getting onto a bandwagon of a less than mediocre blog written by someone who easily gets swept up by her emotions & couldn't write a good blog if it bit her in the nose, Is nothing more than childish.

I have nothing against someone hating Juve, but to troll every blog that is against Juve & writing replies that are just as bad as this blog please stop wasting the space for smart replies.
on the 17th February, 2013 at 11:46pm

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