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...
Every time Juventus has something to say, the whole Italy is against Juventus. Why is that so? Juventus is currently the only bright spot for Italan football. Just look which players play for Italy on EURO and World Cup!!!!!!!!

The most ridiculous situation is when the meeting among referees and coaches was held and when everyone was trying to convince Conte that penalty against Genoa didn't exist hahahahah...Genoa player acted like Buffon in the best days, stopping the ball with hand
on the 17th February, 2013 at 2:55pm
How jealous and hypocritical is this !? I'm talking about Conte, who you Susy wouldn't miss a chance to hit on. You will never miss a chance to bash anything that's related to Juve. But when Juve play their best, you just stay in your room and cry.

I have a question for you, was Totti challenge on Pirlo "deliberate" ?

Answer, if you know what I mean.

Do everybody here a favour and call it quit.
on the 17th February, 2013 at 2:49pm
This article is ridiculous !!! It is just a subjective opinion without any reasonable fact. Susy, you write just to bash juventus, nothing to do with football, just pure hate for juve...

Susy, when you are so smart, tell me one thing. Juventus plays in Europe and represents Italy, and FIGC should be supporting italian teams in Europe, hoping for good results. So what is the problem if the Juventus (and Napoli) games are scheduled on monday??
on the 17th February, 2013 at 2:42pm
how does milan get to reschedule their match in view of their CL fixture with Barca however Juve are denied the same when they asked to shift the fixture from Saturday to Sunday?
on the 17th February, 2013 at 2:34pm
And Susy, where were you when Milan was getting all the wrong penalties and the calls from the refs, you wrote nothing then, always ready to bash on Juve.
on the 17th February, 2013 at 2:31pm
I am a Juve fan, but some people need a reality check. The dates of the games and the opponents for Serie A were determined MONTHS AGO. So Juve had to play two tougher teams (Roma and Fiorentina) close to their CL game. That is pure luck. They had no idea that they would be playing on that date in the CL when the season started. Stop looking for conspiracy theories where they do not exist. It would have been nice to have the game moved back a day, but this is not an automatic thing.
on the 17th February, 2013 at 2:29pm
Milan fans are in no position to lecture Juve on Champions League. We went to Celtic Park and honored Serie A with a resounding 3-0 victory. Milan went to Cetic Park and had legendary Goalkeeper Dida flop on the ground and feign death in order to cheat and deceive the referee into rewarding them for their failures, thereby disgracing Serie A. Every club has its lesser moments.
on the 17th February, 2013 at 2:29pm
It's not a valid argument when you are trying to compare Napolis fixture with Juventus, and what annoys more is when Mr. Mazzarri has got the face to say that they had to play Thursday, but as everyone saw he made a meal out of that game resting his best midfielders trying to keep up with up Juventus, even thought we could not afford to rest any players against Celtic and had to play Roma away not Samp home, so please Mr. Mazzarri keep your mouth shut.

on the 17th February, 2013 at 2:23pm
Conte really shouldn't talk about the congested fixture list. Neil Lennon really shouldn't be crying to UEFA that Juventus are too physical. Walter Mazzari really shouldn't be following others coaches words with his own smarmy commentary like a puppy sniffing the butt of a big dog. But if the coaches acted right, what would journalists write about? Conte was just looking for excuses after losing to a relegation battler that he previously dispatched 4-1.
on the 17th February, 2013 at 2:01pm
I well remember conte asking teams playing in the cpl last year to stop complaining and step down for juve to take their place, and this competition was wat juve really wanted to play in , so whyyyy complaining nowww
on the 17th February, 2013 at 1:59pm
You're just pathetic, susy. Everytime there's chance to bash juve, you immediately write one. Why didn't you write anything when celtic cried for fouls?
on the 17th February, 2013 at 1:50pm
That's football. Look at all the scudettos Juve won in the 00's. Always a close fight until Juve threw in the towel early on in the Champions League while Milan defended and represented Serie A with pride. In the end they lost the scudetto - but they didn't cry like Conte. Grow up
on the 17th February, 2013 at 1:48pm
last season when milan play that fixture and lost the scott to conte he was smiling now compln
on the 17th February, 2013 at 1:45pm
@first anon poster

Yes it's very corrupt to have a Milan derby right after Barcelona in the Champions League, also there was the champions league group game sandwiched between games against Napoli and Juve.

But your right it's clearly corrupt and everyone is out to get Juve.
on the 17th February, 2013 at 1:42pm
You've just got to love Petkovic: "we wanted the bike, so let's get peddling". He has a fantastic attitude, and I am delighted that he is coaching in Serie A. I hope that he stays in Italy for a long time.
on the 17th February, 2013 at 1:39pm
Great article. Serie a needs to consider shortening the league to 16 teams and allow the teams in Europe to have a little more time to do well in Europe and also in it will only benefit Italy in the long run. I remember last season when Milan got knocked out of champions league, coppa italia, and was leap frogged in serie a all in the space of about 2 weeks. Did Milan complain about the fixtures? Nope.
on the 17th February, 2013 at 1:38pm
Don't be silly. How do we know juve will qualify from the group stage anyway to "arrange" matches in such a way .
on the 17th February, 2013 at 1:36pm
Nonsense to the first poster are you know saying that Uefa and Serie A is against Juve. Suzy has a good point if other teams around the world can do it why can't Juve. They were outplayed yesterday by roma - who easily could have scored more. Stop complaining and be take defeat on the chin. The fatigue excuses are the worst yet, how do you tell when a player is fatigued. There is no way you can determine this: if fatigue is to blame for yesterday's loss then when is it the players: teama fault.
on the 17th February, 2013 at 1:36pm
So out of 12 Champions League titles won by Italian clubs, only 3 of those were doubles along with the league title, just goes to show how tough/competitive the Italian League is.
on the 17th February, 2013 at 1:33pm
Interesting article. My team has the Milan derby next weekend...the perfect recovery from playing Barcelona. However, I will never complain about this. I feel privileged to play European football...some teams would kill to be in that position, so embrace it.

Conte is merely sore on the topic as Juve have forgotten what it's like to play in the CL ;-)
on the 17th February, 2013 at 1:26pm
It wasn't really complaining though was it? More of a lamentation :) . Serie A should definitely go back to 18 teams, quality will increase too. Win-win for all really. The teams in the EL really need to start taking that seriously too, France and Portugal are on Italy's coat tails
on the 17th February, 2013 at 1:20pm
Look at the strong teams juventus have to play in Serie A before and after a Chanpions League match compared to whom Inter, Milan and Napoli play. THAT is corruption.
on the 17th February, 2013 at 1:15pm

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