Juventus manager Antonio Conte has rued his side’s failure to find their form in the Champions League earlier, after a 1-0 defeat against Galatasaray eliminated them from the competition at the group stage.
The game was played on Wednesday after it was originally postponed on Tuesday evening due to adverse weather conditions in Turkey. Conte protested UEFA’s decision to go ahead with the game, something he claimed Gala manager Roberto Mancini backed him in, due to continued poor conditions, but ultimately blamed poor results -- the Bianconeri won only once in six attempts -- as the main reason for their early exit.
"We certainly tried to have the game postponed and met with the UEFA delegate beforehand, but nobody wanted to listen. Roberto Mancini said it was dangerous and I agreed with him, I said 'I think so.' I don’t think my English is that bad?" Conte told Sky Sport Italia.
"At half-time I reiterated to the referee that it was not safe to play in these conditions. Didier Drogba said it was the same thing for both teams, but I pointed out it wasn’t, because we were trying to play football.
"I have to praise the lads, as they gave their all in a situation where we were enormously penalised, as the game resorted to a football brawl.
"I will say our mistake was to get to the last game and play everything here. With a decent pitch, I am sure we would’ve played our game. We couldn’t have predicted these circumstances, so in my view our exit is unfair, but we also made life difficult for ourselves."
Juventus --leaders in Serie A and winners of the last two league titles -- will now focus on their domestic form in order to put this disappointment behind them, Conte added.
He said: "We have to dive back into Serie A and the disappointment -- and it is a disappointment -- has to spur us on domestically. We have another two games before the Christmas break and will then start to think about the Europa League. We’ll try to do our best, as we wanted to do our best in the Champions League. Are we targeting the final? You’re more optimistic than I am.
"Last season we had a slow start too and qualified top of the group with three final victories. This time we didn’t manage it.
"Let’s not forget this side rose from the ashes of seventh place twice. We won in Italy two years in a row and didn’t qualify this year because it was our fault, we shouldn’t have left it all to the last match when anything could happen."
Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini echoed his manager’s thoughts and stressed the need for focus in the Europa League if the club are to learn from their mistakes in European competition.
"Now the Europa League must give us the push to continue our growth process," he said. "After all, last season Chelsea were eliminated from the Champions League and went on to lift that trophy.
"It is too early to talk about the fact the final will be in Turin, because there is such a long way to go including the Serie A and Coppa Italia fixtures.
"It will be important to reach the European games with the right mentality and concentration."