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Coppa Italia midweek preview

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has called on his Juventus team-mates to prove why they are still the top team in Italy when the Bianconeri take on AC Milan in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia.

Last Updated: 07/01/13 at 16:49 Post Comment

Gianluigi Buffon: Believes Juventus are the best team in Italy

Gianluigi Buffon: Believes Juventus are the best team in Italy

Defeat to Napoli in last summer's final was the only serious blip in an outstanding 2012 for Antonio Conte's men, who went through an entire Serie A season unbeaten and finished the calendar year with a record-breaking haul of 94 points.

Juve may lead the current standings by five points but their resolution to outstrip last year's achievements began with an inauspicious 2-1 home defeat to Sampdoria, with Buffon taking the blame for the first goal of Mauro Icardi's brace.

The Bianconeri's bid for a 10th Coppa Italia continues with a daunting tie against Milan, who are on the hunt for a first final appearance since 2003.

Addressing the fans via the Corriere dello Sport, Buffon said: "Unfortunately it was a really bad day and the team were not able to play in the way you are used to.

"Even I admit the first goal I conceded was totally avoidable. But a great team should be able to recover from this kind of setback.

"We will all learn from the mistakes we made to avoid repeating them and we will turn our disappointment into anger, the same kind of anger that saw us reach the top of the league.

"We must not forget that we are the champions of Italy and we have no intention of surrendering that title."

Resurgent Milan are eager to atone for last year's semi-final exit to the Turin giants, with midfielder Riccardo Montolivo taking heart from a 2-1 win over Siena.

"We're happy with the result and three important points," he told Tuttosport. "It was a good Sunday that allowed us to keep pace with our rivals.

"Now we are looking forward to a huge challenge against the Bianconeri in the Coppa Italia. It will be very tough at the Juventus Stadium but we want to get to the semi-finals."

Lazio are Juve's closest challenger in the league and are bidding for a first cup title since 2009, when they beat Sampdoria on penalties.

Catania, who have never reached the final, stand in their way and Biancocelesti head coach Vladimir Petkovic is out for revenge for a heavy 4-0 defeat in November.

He told the Corriere dello Sport: "We have a few motives to win tomorrow, in terms of pride and revenge, but we are also considering that there are just three matches separating us from the cup."

Catania boss Rolando Maran is suitably wary of Petkovic's intentions, telling La Repubblica: "We are meeting a confident Lazio side, galvanised by the possibility of winning Serie A.

"We would like need to repeat what we did to them in the league, but each encounter is different."

Next week's ties see Inter Milan welcome Bologna to the San Siro, with Roma travelling to Fiorentina in pursuit of a last-four berth.

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sn'tthis strange. Last season we were worried that we were stuck with a Dinosaur in Moyes while Liverpool and Everton were disappearing into the distance with their young, spritely managerts, playing football from heaven. Progressive managers, they said. Managers who understand the modern game.........

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Rodgers: The pressure's on

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eing consistently and unrelentingly dog turd really takes it out of you. Try shadow boxing. That's what it's like watching Liverpool, punching thin air.

sinbadsdad
Neville: Reds need a rest

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ood list, some crackers in there. For me, I'd have had Steve McManaman for Liverpool away at Celtic in the UEFA cup in 1997. I was in the ground that night and everyone kept screaming at him to make a pass, but he just kept going and going and going...brilliant, and in the dying minutes too.

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