Claudio Marchisio wants new-look Juve to aim high in Europe

Claudio Marchisio wants new-look Juve to aim high in Europe

Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio has called for complete focus as the Italian champions prepare to host Malmo in the Champions League on Tuesday with sights already set on winning Group A.

The Bianconeri last reached the latter stages of the competition in 2012 before being humbled by eventual champions Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.

And having dropped into the Europa League last season, where the Italians were ousted by Benfica at the semi-final stage, Marchisio believes new-look Juve have to aim a lot higher.

"In the Champions League we have to start each game believing it`s a final," said Marchisio, who opened his account for the season with a superb strike in Saturday`s 2-0 home win over Udinese.

"We`ve got even more quality in our side compared to last year."

Although only a handful of changes have been made to the nucleus of the Juventus squad assembled by Antonio Conte over three success-laden years, there is a distinct air of change in the corridors of Juventus Stadium.

Conte, who led Juve to three consecutive league titles, quit to become the Italy manager and has been replaced by former Milan handler Massimiliano Allegri. 

With two wins out of two so far in Serie A, Allegri has taken a small step towards convincing the detractors he is the man to revitalise Juve`s bid to rejoin Europe`s elite.

But that also means anything less than a win for the former two-time champions on Tuesday would undo his good work so far.

Reigning Swedish champions, Malmo -- who finished European Cup runners-up to Nottingham Forest in 1979 -- are Sweden`s first group stage representatives since Helsingborgs IF in 2000-2001.

Malmo also had to come through three qualifying rounds, beating FK Ventspils, Sparta Prague and FC Salzburg over two-leg ties before being drawn with Olympiakos, Atletico Madrid and Juventus.

The Swedes, coached by Age Hareide, are set to be without Brazilian defender Ricardinho (knee) and midfielder Simon Thern (calf).

Juve will be missing midfielders Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo (both thigh) and defender Andrea Barzagli (calf), although the recent signing of wingback Patrice Evra and young strikers Kingsley Coman and Alvaro Morata has injected some life into Allegri`s side.

Juve looked solid throughout their 2-0 win over Udinese at the weekend when Carlos Tevez claimed his opening goal of the season before Marchisio`s second-half strike.

Ahead of Tuesday`s challenge, the Italy midfielder warned: "We can`t afford any slip-ups. In Europe when you lose points it`s hard to win them back." 

Asked if Juventus could win the group, Marchisio added: "We have to win the group. That`s our objective. We don`t just want to qualify, we want to go as far as we can." 

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. You can find out more by clicking this link