Juve coach Ferrara laughs off pressure

Juve coach Ferrara laugh

November 3, 2009 06:49
3 minute read.
haifa soccer 248.88

haifa soccer 248.88. (photo credit: )

Considering the difficulties he has endured in recent days, Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara looked remarkably calm as he addressed the Italian and Israeli media in Ramat Gan on Monday. One might have thought that a two-hour delay to the team's flight earlier in the day would only have added to the pressured atmosphere following a 3-2 Serie A defeat at home to Napoli on Saturday. But the former Juve club captain smiled and joked his way through a pre-game press conference, perhaps finding comfort in the knowledge that it is Champions League whipping boys Maccabi Haifa the Bianconeri face on Tuesday, rather than a team of any significant European stature. "We are putting the disappointment of the last defeat to the side and only focusing on a Champions League victory," Ferrara said of the game against a Haifa team which, despite putting in some admirable performances, has lost all three of its Group A games to date and has been unable to score even a solitary goal. Haifa's last European match was a 1-0 defeat at Juventus's Stadio Olimpico. "We are not coming here saying we have to win," Ferrara added. "We are professionals and this is our work. Our aim is to win every game." Saturday's loss was particularly painful considering the team from Turin was leading 2-0 with 25 minutes to play and had won its previous league game 5-1 at Sampdoria. "Of course I have to take responsibility for the team's wins and losses," Ferrara said. "I don't run away from anything." Maccabi coach Elisha Levy doesn't have any of Ferrara's problems at home, having seen the Greens win all eight of their Israeli Premier League games. But Haifa is bottom of Group A, and another defeat could end its already faint chances of qualifying for the knockout stage. Bordeaux leads the group with seven points, two in front of Juventus and three ahead of Bayern Munich. "Of course we want to win and will do everything to win, but we also want to play well," Levy said on Tuesday. Levy is believed to be considering giving Shlomi Arbeitman his first Champions League start, hoping he can repeat his stunning domestic form on the greatest club stage of them all. Arbeitman may have scored eight goals in Haifa's eight Israeli Premier League victories, but David Trezeguet he is not, and he will find it much more difficult to get the ball past legendary Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon than he did against Maccabi Netanya 'keeper Benoit Zogbo on Saturday. Haifa captain Yaniv Katan did his best to stay positive when asked why his team has failed to dent the net in 270 minutes of Champions League soccer. "I don't think there is anything specific. We created some chances. We had bad luck... but if we carry on as we have done then the goals and also the results will come," he said. Levy will have to do without suspended midfielder Biram Kiyal, with veteran Brazilian Gustavo Boccoli expected to take his place. In his first season, Ferrara has been unable to field a consistent lineup due to a long list of injuries. Captain Alessandro Del Piero, fellow striker Vincenzo Iaquinta and midfielders Claudio Marchisio and Mohamed Sissoko are still out. Attacking midfielder Mauro Camoranesi is available despite requiring four stitches to close a cut above his eyebrow suffered against Napoli. "We can't stand around and lick our wounds. We're facing a tough match in Israel. It may not be decisive, but it's going to be a tricky game," said Buffon, who is playing through pain before knee surgery scheduled at the end of the year. "The real Juventus isn't the one seen on Saturday, it's that other team you saw against Sampdoria a few days ago," new club president Jean-Claude Blanc said. AP contributed to this report.

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