Tough times for Juventus

Italian club search for a return to form despite Champions League loss.

    Felipe Melo has so far proved to be an expensive disappointment for Juve [EPA] 
    Italian side Juventus have seen their fair share of highs and lows in the last week.

    The Turin side suffered a devastating 4-1 home loss to Bayern Munich on Tuesday which saw them eliminated from the Champions League.

    But it was only three days before that they were celebrating victory over Serie A leaders Inter Milan.

    The Bianconeri face newly promoted Bari on Saturday and will be searching for a return to form despite the underwhelming performance of their new Brazilian stars.

    Disappointing

    Diego and Felipe Melo were both subbed from the Juve side after underperforming against Bayern.

    The $37 million paid to Fiorentina for Felipe Melo is looking more and more like a failed investment, especially since Cristiano Zanetti - who plays the same position - was sent to the Tuscan club and flourished.

    Juve left back Fabio Grosso summed up the feeling in the club:

    "Just the other day we were all joyous for the big win over Inter and now we're all disappointed over this heavy loss.”

    "In times like these the best thing to do is to get back out on the field right away and try to turn things around.''

    Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has put off knee surgery until Sunday to stay with the club during these trying times and could play against Bari.

    Buffon appeared immobile on occasion against Bayern and should have stopped at least one of the German club's goals.

    Juventus president Jean-Claude Blanc is not putting the blame on coach Ciro Ferrara.

    "We're going to move forward with him as the coach,'' Blanc said.

    "We've got a good project and we're going to stick to it.''

    Inter lead the Italian league with 35 points, Juventus are next with 31 and AC Milan have 30.

    Fiorentina high

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday December 12

     Bari v Juventus
     Cagliari v Napoli

    Sunday December 13

     AC Milan v Palermo
     Atalanta v Inter Milan
     Catania v Livorno
     Chievo v Fiorentina
     Lazio v Genoa
     Parma v Bologna
     Sampdoria v Roma
     Siena v Udinese

    Fiorentina became the only Italian club to win their Champions League group by beating Liverpool for the second time this season and now visit Chievo
    Verona.

    "Let's celebrate now because we deserve it,'' Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli said following the Viola's fifth consecutive win in Europe.

    "Then let's recuperate our energy and focus on the league.

    Inter visit struggling Atalanta on Sunday after securing their route to the next round of the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Rubin Kazan, thanks to goals from Samuel Eto'o and Mario Balotelli.

    Both Inter manager Jose Mourinho and Atalanta counterpart Antonio Conte will not be on the sideline after outbursts last week resulting in a ban.

    Milan, who slid through in Europe with a 1-1 draw at FC Zurich, host Palermo with defensive problems following injuries to Thiago Silva and Daniele Bonera.

    Struggling Sampdoria host an improved AS Roma squad and the Genova club's
    talented but temperamental striker Antonio Cassano has been acting up again,
    getting into a heated verbal argument with critical fans at midweek training.

    Udinese visit Siena without Serie A scoring leader Antonio Di Natale, who has been banned for two games after threatening the referee following a 2-1 loss to Bologna last weekend.

    New Catania coach Sinisa Mihajlovic makes his debut against Livorno.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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