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Managers offer thoughts on Juventus-Tottenham Champions League draw

Allegri, Pochettino, Nedved’s comments following yesterday’s announcement

Tottenham Hotspur v Juventus - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Juventus will take on Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League Round of 16 knockout stage, with the first leg of the tie to be played in February. The two sides have never met in competitive action before, and while Juve do not have a good record against English sides in the knockout segment of this competition, a lot of those games were well in the past.

Following the draw yesterday, manager Massimiliano Allegri took to Twitter to comment on the selection.

“Wembley awaits us, one of the sacred temples within sport.

“Spurs are a young and very talented group but we are Juventus and we can do it.”

Spurs are playing their home games at Wembley while construction continues on their new home ground at White Hart Lane. Tottenham have struggled at times this season at home, especially with the larger field at Wembley hindering their quick, short-passing game.

Their manager Mauricio Pochettino was quite excited to draw Juve, but for different reasons than you would expect.

“It's fantastic because my family came from Italy, from Turin — unbelievable!

“My surname is from Italy. It's a city and a club I've always wanted to play and it's now fantastic to be going to the city of Turin to play against Juventus.”

“It's so important to be competitive and we've shown we can do that, we've shown we can deal with the pressure of the Champions League.

“This will be a different game to Real Madrid and it's so exciting to play Juventus.”

Spurs topped a very difficult group containing Real and Borussia Dortmund, and looked quite impressive while doing it too, and the Bianconeri certainly face a challenge against them, as observed by club legend and vice-president Pavel Nedved -

“We’ve never faced Tottenham in Europe, but we faced them in a friendly this summer and lost. The game is in two months, so we’ll see how it goes. In the friendly we weren’t in condition, now we have to believe in ourselves and do our best.

“They’re a solid team with a great Coach [Mauricio Pochettino] who is taking full advantage of their attacking potential.

“Then there’s Llorente who we know well and who we hope doesn’t hurt us like he did for Sevilla.


Tottenham Hotspur v Juventus - Pre-Season Friendly
Marchisio tangles with Eriksen in the pre-season friendly
Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Nedved went on to add that they would be taking it one game at a time and not get carried away by past records of reaching the Finals twice in three years.

“I’d sign up to reach the final every year, then when you’re there you see how it goes. It’s always very difficult [to get there] but Juventus have done it twice in three years. That doesn’t happen for everyone.

“The Last 16 is tricky, it’s very difficult to pass. It seems like a matter of course, but Juventus never make these calculations, not in the league nor in Europe.

“We always take it game-by-game, we’ll think of Tottenham and then see what happens.”