How will the Italian teams get on in Europe this season?
We sat down with Marco Messina of Italian Football TV to take his thoughts on Seria A's representatives in Europe this season.....
Q. What are your expectations for the Italian teams in European completions this season? Can we expect to see an Italian winner?
A. I think in the Champions League we can expect alot, Juventus & Napoli are two very strong teams (even if they have started off their UCL slowly) and even Roma has been a bit of a surprise: in terms of a result, it can be considered better than what we had expected (so far)
There are no guarantees in winning a competition, could an Italian team win the UCL? Absolutely. Are they favorites? Probably not. And its probably better that way
For Europa League, Atalanta have got to a fantastic start, no one expected them to do what they did vs Everton, major shock and a good way to put the Serie A on the map to many especially those who don't know the story of Atalanta
Milan are obviously one of the strongest teams on paper for Europa League. Italian teams don't normally take them too seriously but we'll see the way they continue
Same goes for Lazio, good start, 2 wins out of 2 and they've been one of the most exciting teams in Serie A this season
Q. Juventus of course have reached the latter in the last few years. After their humbling in the final last season do you believe they are in a better/worse state to challenge this season?
A. One thing is competing, another is winning the Champions League. Its hard to say they are in a better state just because they had the almost perfect season last year and to replicate something like that is almost impossible, few teams have + with the defensive scares they've show so far this year thats the obvious answer
There is on the other hand, a much deeper attack which proved to be an issue + its only October 2nd and we have yet to see the real Juventus
Q. You also mentioned Napoli, with them looking very strong in the Serie A what do you make of their chances in the UCL? Are they as much of a danger as Juventus?
A. Napoli are a very strong team who are gaining ALOT of attention from neutral fans. The style that Sarri has his men playing + the results going their way this season
Napoli can prove to be a real danger, they were unlucky to be drawn against Real Madrid last year in the Champions League. With a little bit of luck (missing the Real Madrid's, Barcas, PSG) Napoli can go very far.
I would say Juventus have an edge in experience & being able to handle a game better but quality wise they are level. Keep in mind Juventus have a much deeper bench then Napoli do and that could play an important factor
Q. I see. Outside those 2 then can we see Roma having an impact at all? They have lost key players of course so the expectations may not be high?
A. I don't believe Roma have a real chance to win the Champions League. I'm hoping they can get some good results vs Chelsea and make it out of their group
Q. You mentioned Italian sides don't take the Europa league seriously. Do you think Milan's situation in the league may force them to take it seriously? Should they expect to up there as one of the favourites? Lazio have a chance?
A. They should of course be expected to take it seriously. Now coefficient points aren't as valuable as before but the brand of the Serie A needs to be improved & winning makes that happen. Milan's priority however is definitely getting a good spot in the league
Lazio could be the dark horse of the tournament. I'm not sure if they can take it, but they could go really far
Q. I see. So finally could you give us a prediction for each Italian side this season?
A. Predictions are hard: there are alot of factors that go into it. If you get a lucky draw you can go further. I would say in the UCL we'll see an Italian team make it to the semi's atleast.
Everyone makes it out of their groups.
For Europa League: an Italian team makes the final