Turin (Italy) (AFP) – Centre-back Giorgio Chiellini said it will take the entire Juventus team to stop Tottenham striker Harry Kane in Tuesday’s Champions League last 16 first leg clash in Turin.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side have been in fine form in the Premier League recently, taking seven points from matches against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal, with Kane scoring his 101st league goal in the north London derby last weekend.
“Stopping Kane, just me alone, is pretty impossible,” said 33-year-old six-time Serie A winner Chiellini.
“I’m not so presumptuous or arrogant to think I can. I hope the whole of Juventus can stop Tottenham, that is what matters.
“One-to-one clashes are important but the whole team will have to do its best to limit, not only Harry Kane, but the ‘fab four’ (Kane, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-min) in the attacking area.
“We shouldn’t just think of Tottenham as Kane, but as a whole team. They haven’t reached this level by chance.
“Tomorrow we want to do our best with great respect and humility, aware that this is the very first step of a journey which I hope will take us to Kiev in May.”
Juventus — finalists twice in the past three seasons — have conceded just one goal in their last 16 games and Kane said he was eager to lock horns again with Chiellini.
– ‘Dead leg’ –
“He’s an amazing defender,” said Kane, who has faced Chiellini before. “My first start for England probably the first five minutes he made a challenge and I probably had a dead leg for 10 minutes.
“It was a good welcome to international football.”
Kane added: “We have to come here with belief we can get through. It’ll be tough tomorrow (Tuesday) night then hopefully we can take them to Wembley and get the job done.”
It will be the first European meeting between the two sides and Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said there is no favourite.
“It’s a very balanced challenge, it’s 50-50, the two teams are equal,” said Allegri. “We have to create an advantage tomorrow night and bring it to London where it will be decided.
“Obviously I’d be glad not to concede, to end up with a clean sheet.”
The Italian champions’ injury list includes Paulo Dybala and Blaise Matuidi, with Allegri admitting he has not yet decided on his final line-up.
“We’ll have to see how I feel when I wake up tomorrow, so basically it depends on my alarm clock,” he joked. “Don’t think that I won’t be sleeping, because I can assure you I will be sleeping tonight.”
Pochettino boasts a full squad apart from defender Toby Alderweireld, who is making his way back from a hamstring injury.
“Juventus is a massive club, its history, they’ve won everything, we can’t compare,” said Pochettino of a side that has been finalists twice in the past three seasons.
But the Argentine is hoping to pull off another upset after topping Real Madrid in the group stages.
“Not many many people believed in us and our ability to get through. We’re going to be brave.”
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