3 Targets for Juventus to Hit in 2016
Now firmly back in title contention, Juventus enter the new year looking to build on their good form and continue the success they have enjoyed over the past four seasons. The Bianconeri have put their poor start behind them and will certainly be seeking more silverware to add to their impressive 2015 haul.
With the club’s first league and cup double in two decades secured last summer, coach Massimiliano Allegri believes his side must strive to get even better, as he told the Corriere della Sera in a recent interview.
"We have room for improvement, but we can have a great season," he said (h/t Football Italia). "We have to continue like this, the team is growing and we mustn’t stop. Maintaining our position does not exist."
Given his previous success with Italian football’s grand Old Lady, it is difficult to argue with Allegri’s judgment, and what follows is a look at three targets for Juventus—and their impressive coach—to hit in 2016.
Retain Their Status as Champions
After eight weeks of 2015/16, the Bianconeri had won just two matches and sat as low as 14th in the Serie A standings, a staggering 12 points behind the early leaders.
Now, just nine games later, they have narrowed that gap to a mere three points and must firmly feel they can win yet another Scudetto this coming year.
Indeed, despite his own side being top of the table, Inter boss Roberto Mancini counted Juventus among the favourites for the title at a recent press conference. Undoubtedly looking to take the pressure off his own players after a poor result against Lazio, his comments will fuel the belief of La Madama.
If they are able to clinch a fifth consecutive title, it would be a remarkable accomplishment by Allegri and his players given their earlier weakened position.
Defend Their Coppa Italia Crown
Lifting another league title would be impressive, but a follow-up victory in the Coppa Italia would be a nice punctuation mark as the club has not recorded back-to-back wins in that competition since 1960.
Furthermore, having watched AS Roma, Fiorentina and Sampdoria crash out in the last round, the cup suddenly looks much more straightforward with a repeat of last year’s showpiece waiting in the quarter-finals.
Victory against Lazio would put the Bianconeri into a last-four clash with either Inter or Napoli, with the other side of the draw drastically weakened by those surprising exits.
Challenge Bayern Munich
While their domestic credentials need no introduction, Juventus—despite major victories over Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid en route to the Champions League final last term—still have much to prove in Europe.
That has seen the Bianconeri paired with Bayern Munich in the last 16, a daunting prospect given the form Pep Guardiola’s men are in thus far in 2015/16. Losing just two games in all competitions, the Bundesliga outfit will provide a stern test, one to which Juve must rise if they are to be seen as genuine contenders.
"Bayern are one of the best teams in the world," Allegri noted at a recent press conference, adding, however, that "getting past them would make us one of the favourites for the Champions League."
That is undoubtedly true, and laying down a marker in Munich should be a major target for Juventus when they return to action in 2016.