Sarri plays down Jurgen Klopp’s claim that Juventus are Champions League favourites


Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri has played down defending champions Jurgen Klopp’s claims that Juventus are Champions League favourites before stating that the German is just trying to “shake of the burden” of the Reds attempting to win the continent’s most coveted trophy for a second straight season by claiming that the Italian champions are favourites to lift the trophy.

While tipping them for glory in Europe, Klopp also revealed that he is surprised that Juventus are not clear in the Serie A title race as Sarri’s side are level on points with Antonio Conte’s Inter at the summit.

Meanwhile, Sarri suggested that the former Borussia Dortmund’s manager is only highlighting the Bianconeri’s strengths to relieve the pressure on his own players, as defending champions Liverpool are set to take on Atletico Madrid in the last 16.

Jurgen also said that he doesn’t watch much Italian football, so that explains his confusion!” Sarri, whose side face Lyon in the competition, told a news conference.

“Jurgen is one of the smartest and funniest people I’ve ever known and what he’s doing here is shaking off the burden of being the favourites for the Champions League.

“It was clear from the very start that this would be a different type of season. I think it’s motivating to be in a title race to the very end, so I feel we have to feed off this situation.

“No single match is decisive. We just have to focus on ourselves and picking up as many points as possible.”

Premier League title holders Manchester City meanwhile were handed a two-season ban from European competition by UEFA on Friday for a breach of Financial Fair Play regulations.

As the club are likely to appeal their suspension, there is already a speculation over City’s star players leaving the club along with gaffer Pep Guardiola, a notion that Sarri does not believe in.

I went to Chelsea last season and they weren’t in the Champions League. I was happy to do it,” Sarri said.

This is also the first stage of the process, there will be appeals and we’ll see what the definitive verdict is, but there are situations where a coach can look beyond those limitations.”

Juventus are in Serie A action on Sunday when they host Brescia, who sit second-bottom of the table and seven points from safety.