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Mar 12, 2014

Juve switch attention to Europa League

TURIN, Italy -- Juventus will step up their hunt for a Serie A and Europa League double when they host Fiorentina on Thursday night.

Carlos Tevez Juventus vs Fiorentina
Carlos Tevez may be rested after picking up a knock in the Serie A win against Fiorentina.

• Rzouki: All change for Juventus
• Agnelli: Fight discrimination

While the focus in the last round of the Europa League, which saw Juve oust Trabzonspor 4-0 on aggregate, was on giving the fringe players a chance and keeping the regulars fresh for the league, last weekend's results in Serie A have changed that philosophy slightly.

With a third straight scudetto looking increasingly safe, Juve can now focus on going all the way to a home final in Europe.

"Now we're in the Europa League, and it's the game of our lives as such because one goes through, and one goes out," Conte said at a news conference in Turin.

"We want to do well; we want to go through. We're in two competitions right now and we know that the scudetto has a huge importance, but we also know that the Europa League is a beautiful competition and it would be fantastic to go all the way.

"It won't be easy, but it's a great experience for the players who have not that much European experience so it would be important to go through."

One eye will still be on picking up the few remaining points they need to clinch the Serie A title, but with a 14-point cushion over second-placed Roma, who have a game in hand, the domestic title is theirs to lose.

The situation is different for Fiorentina, though, with the Europa League providing their only potential source of success this season, and Conte has warned that will make them more dangerous than they were in the Bianconeri's 1-0 league win over the Viola last weekend.

"We're expecting to meet a strong Fiorentina who want to win the Europa League," Conte said. "Fiorentina can focus all of their efforts on Europe as they're out of the Coppa Italia and don't have a chance in the league.

“We're in the hunt and we have a huge objective to try to win a third straight scudetto, which would be historic, and then we have the Europa League -- and I want to go through."

A slight rotation is nevertheless likely to be undertaken with Carlos Tevez set to be rested due to a knee injury.

"We've got to keep an eye on things," Conte said. "The tendon in his knee is swollen and so we've just got to take care not to overdo things with him in training."

Should Tevez miss out, Fernando Llorente could partner Daniel Osvaldo, who is set to start for only the second time having played the full 90 minutes in Turkey.

Sunday's matchwinner Kwadwo Asamoah and Stephan Lichtsteiner could also be rested, with Federico Peluso and Mauricio Isla preferred, as they were against Trabzonspor in the last round.

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