Conte: No pressure to win Europa League as Juventus belong in the Champions League

The ex-Bianconeri midfielder says that the club's group stage elimination remains "a massive regret" as he feels the Old Lady belong on the game's grandest stage
Juventus boss Antonio Conte insists he does not feel under pressure to win the Europa League as he feels that the Champions League is the club's natural "habitat".

The Bianconeri boss admitted that he regrets the way in which his side bowed out of the Champions League this term after conceding a late goal to Galatasaray's Wesley Sneijder in their final group clash in Istanbul.

"Hoenstly, I don't feel all of this pressure on Juventus [to win the Europa League] because the path of Juventus should not be the Europa League; it should be the Champions League," he told reporters on Wednesday.

"What I've always said is that Juventus should think that their natural habitat must be the Champions League and that they need to have a path back into the Champions League.

"For us, there is great regret this year that we were eliminated in the group phase, 10 minutes from the end. This is a massive regret.

"Having said that, now we have started on this path and it's right to try to do our best.

"It is only inevitable that now that we have slipped into the Europa Lague, we will try to honour our obligation to give our all to progress: with pride, with passion, with enthusiasm, with everything that we have.

"But we are used to all the pressure that we are under and it will be the same that accompanies us in every game because Juventus must always win.

"So, in that regard, nothing changes."

Standing between Juve and a place in the quarter-finals of the Europa League are Fiorentina, who claimed a 1-1 draw when the two sides met in the first leg of their last-16 clash in Turin last week.

The two sides collide again at the Artemio Franchi on Thursday night and Conte is acutely aware of just how difficult it will be to turn the tie around, arguing that the Viola's strength lies in the collective rather than their individual talents.

"I don't think that we should fear a particular player, more the Fiorentina team," he reasoned.

"Because as [Juventus captain] Gigi [Buffon] said, they're a team composed of players of great value, of great technical ability.

"If I must pick out one name, it would be Borja Valero, who is definitely an extraordinary player in his position.

"But we could name so many others because we're talking about the likes of [Juan Cuadrado], [David Pizarro], [Mario] Gomez and so many other players that are doing well.

"So, there's not a single player that worries me. We have great respect for the entire Fiorentina team."