Kyiv – Juventus news

Last updated : 31 October 2002 By Martyn Elliott

Can we trust these men?
There are a number of different stories circulating about what sort of team the Italians will put out for their visit to the Ukraine.

One report quotes Pavel Nedved as saying: "We've got what we want now. We can forget about the Champions League for several weeks and concentrate on Serie A."

Whilst another report quotes manager Marcello Lippi as promising: "We will go to Kiev with a real team and I can assure Sir Bobby Robson and Newcastle it will be a serious side."

But Lippi is also reported to have said: "At this moment we can say the first cycle of the season is closed and we have to be very satisfied having qualified from a difficult group with a game to spare

"We are in a good position in the Italian league and I want to thank the players for all their work.

"We have an important chance but it is not easy to win the Champions League. You can say we won it six years ago but you can also say we have managed to win it only twice in the last 100 years.

"But we are looking to return to the top in Europe. We went three years without winning anything and after claiming the Italian title last year we are trying in Europe."

So overall its probably safe to say that Juventus will not be fielding a full strength team in Kyiv, and if we were in their situation would we risk Shearer, Dyer and Speed on a freezing pitch in eastern Europe against a fired-up, physical team.

Having read through a number of Italian press reports yesterday, the general feeling in Italy is that Juve will be without Del Piero, Nedved, Thuram, Davids, Di Vaio, Buffon, and Montero, as well as the suspended Tacchinardi. (They also widely carry the story that Massimo Maccarone will leave the smoggies to sign for Juventus in January!)

Unfortunately as long as they pick their team from their original 25 man squad they will have broken no rules and we can only hope the understudies can grab a point for us.