Juventus Coach Eyes Serie A Title, Identifies Chief Rivals For League Championship

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FOXBORO, MASS. — Juventus hasn’t dominated Italian soccer in recent years by taking anything for granted.

Head coach Massimiliano Allegri laid out Juventus’ targets for the 2017-18 season Sunday following its International Champions Cup game against AS Roma at Gillette Stadium, telling reporters at his postgame press conference he expects rivals to resist his team’s bid for a record-extending seventh consecutive Serie A (Italy’s first division) title.

“Six Scudetti (league championships) in a row is difficult, but obviously winning the seventh one is going to be even harder,” Allegri said. “The teams have reinforced themselves, have strengthened themselves, so certainly our first objective is to go out there and compete for a seventh Scudetto.”

AS Roma and Napoli challenged Juventus for the championship until the final weeks of last season, and Allegri expects them to do so again. He also is aware Inter Milan’s and AC Milan’s offseason transfer activity might help them mount their first real title bids since Juventus began its unprecedented run of success in 2012.

“Roma had 87 points last season, the most in its history, so they’re certainly a very strong team that promises to be even stronger.

“But let’s not forget about teams like Napoli and Milan, especially Inter, and let’s also not forget about Lazio, a team that’s very strong. So the competition to win the Scudetto will be competitive.”

Given Juventus’ winning streak and progression to the UEFA Champions League final in 2015 and 2017, the emphasis Allegri puts on domestic success might surprise some. But the 49-year-old tactician used dominance in Italy as Juventus’ building blocks in its pursuit of a European crown. He sensibly won’t change that strategy in 2017-18 or beyond.

Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images

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