Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri has responded to Jurgen Klopp’s claims that Juventus are his favourites to win the Champions League this season.
The Merseyside giants are of course the defending European champions, and they’ll hope to advance past Atletico Madrid in the round-of-16 this year with the first leg of their tie taking place in the Spanish capital next week.
However, perhaps in an attempt to deflect the pressure and expectations away from his side, the Liverpool boss reiterated that his pick as favourites for the Champions League this season was Juventus, while he also questioned how such a talented squad isn’t clear in the Serie A title race this season.
“Juventus were my favourites before the season started but obviously I don’t watch Italian football enough because I cannot work out why they are not 10 points ahead at the top of Serie A,” Klopp said, as quoted by the Guardian. “They have the biggest squad I have ever seen in my life; quality players too, it’s crazy.”
In reality, it’s not been so easy for Sarri and the Turin giants, as they saw rivals Inter leapfrog them to the top of the standings last weekend, although the two sides remain locked level on 54 points apiece after 23 games, while Lazio are just a point adrift of them.
In turn, it promises to be a thrilling Scudetto battle in Italy this season, and Sarri has responded to Klopp’s comments in a slightly sarcastic and jovial way by noting that even the Liverpool boss himself conceded that he doesn’t watch enough Italian football to form that opinion.
“Jurgen also said that he doesn’t watch much Italian football, so that explains his confusion! 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,” the Juventus boss told reporters on Saturday, as noted by Football Italia.
There doesn’t appear to be any hostility in the comments from either side as the two coaches will no doubt remember their clashes fondly from last season when Sarri was at Chelsea.
Nevertheless, the mind games are perhaps in place as they try to avoid being tagged as favourites for the Champions League, as they would rather a rival have that title to allow them to go about their business with less attention.