ROME (Reuters) - Juventus can reach their first two targets of the season in the next two weeks by reaching the last 16 of the Champions League and beating Napoli in the Italian Super Cup final, manager Massimiliano Allegri said on Monday.
The first target can be achieved on Tuesday when Juve hosts last season’s beaten finalists Atletico Madrid in their final Champions League Group A match and the second on Dec.22 when Juve faces Napoli in the cup match in Qatar.
The others -- the Serie A crown and the Champions League title -- will have to wait a little longer.
Atletico are already through to the last 16 and will win the group as long as they do not lose by a margin of two goals or more to Juve.
The Italians will go through with a draw or if Olympiakos do not win their match against already eliminated Malmo.
If Juve beat Atletico by two goals or more they will finish top but Olympiakos can still pip them for a qualifying place if Juve lose and the Greeks win, so Allegri is taking nothing for granted.
”We have to reach the knockout stage,“ he told reporters on Monday, It is this season’s first goal, with the second not too far behind.”
A year ago Juventus faced a similar situation only to lose in Istanbul to Galatasaray and finish in third place.
Juve are unbeaten in their last nine European matches at home and Allegri is optimistic that his men won’t slip up now.
“I have a very strong team that has shown it can play at this level in the five previous games,” Allegri added.
Despite both clubs boasting European pedigrees going back to the 1950s, they have only met once previously with Atletico beating Juventus 1-0 in Madrid in October with Arda Turan scoring the only goal.
He says that the two teams will be approaching Tuesday’s match in very different frames of mind.
“It a completely different scenario. We want to finish in first place and, therefore, avoid other group winners, while Atletico wants to protect its leadership.”
But he was guarded when asked if Diego Simeone, Atletico’s coach, would be a worthy winner of FIFA’s Coach of the Year award.
“Simeone is doing a terrific job,” Allegri said.
”To win ‘La Liga’ finishing ahead of giants like Real Madrid and Barcelona is exceptional.
“But Carlo and Loew are also deserving,” he said of Carlo Ancelotti who led Real Madrid to the Champions League title last season and Joachim Loew who coached Germany to World Cup glory.
Editing by Mike Collett