Monday September 16 2013
Nedved respects Copenhagen threat

Juventus director Pavel Nedved is not underestimating Tuesday’s Champions League opponents FC Copenhagen.

The Old Lady will begin their European Cup bid in Denmark tomorrow and the former midfielder is in cautious mood.

“We must start the [European] campaign on the right foot, that is important,” the ex Golden Ball winner was quoted as saying on the Gazzetta dello Sport website.

“We are really focused on Copenhagen. It will be a hard game. Last year we went to Nordsjaelland where we struggled and drew.”

Juventus reached the quarter-finals last season before being beaten by eventual winners Bayern Munich.

“There are better sides than us, but the strongest don’t always win,” added the official.

“We will know only on the field of play whether the gap between us and the top clubs has decreased in Europe, but Juventus have unquestionably reinforced and are stronger.

“We are very competitive, as hard as always. That is the brand of Antonio Conte. The squad follows him, they have his character, they never give up. We’re very happy with what the players are doing.”

Juventus have been knocked off top spot in Serie A following their draw at Inter on Saturday, but Nedved is happy with the club’s start to 2013-14.

“We’ve lost the leadership, but we had a tough start to the season [Sampdoria, Lazio, Inter]. We are satisfied, the side have expressed themselves well so far.

“It was hard in Milan. Inter are a side who can just concentrate on the League. I think their best signing was boss Walter Mazzarri. He’s fixed their team, you can see his tactics, Inter gave a good impression.

“I don’t know if it will be a battle between Juve and Napoli for the Scudetto. There are other sides in the race.”

Nedved was also asked for an opinion on rising star Paul Pogba and Fernando Llorente, the summer signing who is struggling for playing time.

“Pogba can win the Golden Ball. I have no doubts. He is still just 20, therefore he has all the time he needs to improve.

“Llorente has arrived from a different League to a team that is already well defined. He just needs time. He will be very useful for us over the season.”