Tuesday May 6 2014
Lippi: Juve strongest, now…

Marcello Lippi has praised Juventus’ strength in Serie A, but says it now must be imposed in European competition too.

The Old Lady is celebrating a third consecutive League title after the weekend’s results and have drawn reflection and praise from one of their more notable former tacticians.

“Juve have won for the last three years because they are the strongest,” Lippi has considered to the Gazzetta dello Sport today.

“There are no special reasons why, they are simply on another level this year and even above an extraordinary Roma, protagonists of a unique championship.

“Three Scudetti in a row is not a joke? Not at all. It is more difficult to win successively than to just win.

“Where their strength lies? The return of the champions to a top level - Buffon, Pirlo naturally, but also Chiellini.

“Then, without doubt, Tevez - he is a driver, pushing through the whole season. Then the arrival of Vidal, the confirmation of Marchisio, the growth of Llorente and all the others, to Bonucci and Barzagli.

“Juve will become even stronger.

“But now there needs to be a breakthrough internationally, Juventus must find a dimension to winning abroad as well.”

Scrutiny has been on Juve’s struggles to match their domestic dominance with consistent form on the continent - Lippi considered what is missing at the moment.

“At Juventus they lack awareness of their own strength, outside Italy they must have the psychological security to be able to impose their game in the Cup, not only in the League.

“But then, if you find yourself in the Champions League up against Bayern, Real Madrid or Barcelona, you have to deal with them as well, there is no other way.”

Lippi was asked about the critics against Antonio Conte after Juve’s Europa League semi-final elimination to Benfica.

“I’m not surprised - in Italy they also discuss those who have won a World Cup… But Conte is a Coach who has had a significant influence on the growth of Juventus after a difficult period.

“He has won three League titles, given them a style of play and mentality. Need I say more?

“The road taken is the right one. Maybe they could have done more in Europe. Last year they came across a very strong Bayern, and this year Juve slipped on a couple of banana peels.

“But it is inevitable that one day soon, Juve will be back among the best in Europe.”

Conte fell out with former Bianconero boss Fabio Capello earlier in the season for the now-Russia Coach’s words that Serie A was not providing a tough enough workout for the team.

“There is a grain of truth in this sentence - competition helps you grow. Take Bayern - they have paid psychologically for the fact they won the Bundesliga with seven weeks to go. Had they had more competition then they might have maintained their concentration until the end. Instead they lost a bit of that anger and determination. And even if you lead a championship with so many points, the charge does drop a bit, it is inevitable.”

Lippi considered Juve’s potential activity in the transfer market and if it will involve Paul Pogba’s sale.

“The club knows what is needed and what is missing. After three League titles, honestly they do not miss much. Regarding Pogba, they will draw the accounts and decide certainly for the good of Juventus.”

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