(Reuters) – Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri insisted even big clubs like his one can endure bad seasons, and he remains happy with how his team are progressing overall.
Serie A’s most successful club are out of the running to win the Scudetto this term, and will finish the campaign trophyless for the first time since 2010-11.
Fourth spot is assured, however, and Juve still have a chance of finishing third.
“This season has been a failure, I’m hearing,” Allegri told a news conference on Sunday ahead to his side’s clash with Lazio. “When you’re at Juve, it is normal that there are high expectations, but such years happen.
“In the meantime we achieved Champions League qualification, which seems like a trivial objective but it’s not. It is 11 consecutive years that Juve has taken part in the Champions League and it’s an important result.
“You always have to win here, but qualifying for the Champions League is not a trivial objective.”
Two of Juve’s key players – veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini and Argentine striker Paulo Dybala – will leave the club at the end of the season, playing their final home match against Lazio on Monday.
Allegri, however, is not looking to next season just yet, dismissing speculation that Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba could return to the club.
“Chiellini spent 17 years with Juve, Paulo has a career ahead of him and will have the tribute from all the fans,” he added.
“Some players will not be there on Monday. Danilo has finished his season, Arthur will have finished as well, but Mattia De Sciglio will be back.
“The season is not over yet and Pogba is a Manchester United player, with the club we will talk about the market at the end of the season. I have already forgotten, I don’t remember him so much.”
(Reporting by Peter Hall, editing by Ed Osmond)