Europa League can help Juventus win the Champions League, says Pirlo

The Bianconeri midfielder wants his side to finish the season strongly in both Europe and Italy to aid them in their bid for European domination
Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo has urged his team-mates to try to win the Europa League to help them in their bid to win the Champions League in the future.

The Bianconeri were eliminated from Europe's top competition back in December thanks to a shock loss to Galatasaray in the last match of the group stages.

Having been awarded a place in Uefa's secondary tournament for their third-placed finish behind the Turkish champions and Real Madrid, Pirlo believes they must take it seriously as a step on the path towards winning the continent's top prize.

"It's an important goal - a mini Champions League," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"It's a key step in our international growth. Bringing home the Europa League allows you to start the next season with the European Super Cup at stake. Winning helps you win.

"We are aiming for a strong end to Serie A and the Europa League, then we can actually plan an assault on the Champions League."

Juve face Fiorentina in the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday and Pirlo believes his side should aim to keep a clean sheet in the home leg to stave off the Viola in the Artemio Franchi return.

"They'll come here to score at least one goal and then be able to play for it all at home in the week," he continued.

"This Viola are a very good team, we'll have to be careful."