Juve must produce performance of all time – Bonucci

May 10, 2017

Leonardo Bonucci says Juventus will have to produce their best if they are to conquer Europe

The Serie A giants reached June’s final, where they will play either Real or Atletico Madrid, after completing a 4-1 aggregate semi-final victory over Monaco with a 2-1 win in Turin on Tuesday night.

Goals from Mario Mandzukic and Dani Alves confirmed Juve’s dominance over two legs and they will now get a chance to make up for their final defeats by AC Milan in 2003 and Barcelona in 2015.

Ball-playing defender Bonucci, on the losing side when Barca triumphed in Berlin two years ago, felt Kylian Mbappe’s goal at Juventus Stadium served as a warning ahead of the showpiece in Wales.

Until Monaco’s 18-year-old striker scored in the second half in Turin, the Bianconeri had kept a clean sheet in Europe for over 600 minutes. Sevilla had been the last team to beat Gianluigi Buffon, back in November’s group-stage victory at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Bonucci told juventus.com: ‘It’s a shame about the goal we let in. We shouldn’t be conceding like that just because we switched off. We’d taken our foot off the pedal a bit at that stage.

Juve qualified for the Champions League final with a 4-1 aggregate win over Monaco

‘That’s something we need to improve on. We can’t take anything for granted because at this level you only need to make one mistake and you’ve let in a goal.

‘Still, we’ve shown what a great team we are and we’ll be going to Cardiff to win, aware of our ability.

‘We had a fantastic midfield when we played in Berlin, but I don’t think we’re any worse off this season. Our midfielders are perfectly suited for the formation we’re playing and we’re very comfortable with it, too.

‘Now all we need to do is go to Cardiff and produce the best Juve performance of all time.’

Juve last won the European Cup in 1996, beating Ajax on penalties in Rome, but they failed to retain the trophy as Borussia Dortmund triumphed in the Munich final 12 months later.

Juve had kept a clean sheet in Europe for over 600 minutes before Kylian Mbappe scored

Juve had kept a clean sheet in Europe for over 600 minutes before Kylian Mbappe scored

Twenty years on they are better than ever, with a sixth straight Serie A title within reach on Sunday, should they take a point at Roma. They will also face Lazio in the Coppa Italia final.

Bonucci added: ‘It’s a superb result for a team that’s heading into the business end of the season still challenging on all three fronts.

‘We’re a better team than we were two years ago. We surprised people when we reached the final last time around. I don’t think many are surprised this year after the run we’ve been on.’

Monaco, who twice beat Tottenham in the group stage before knocking out Manchester City and Dortmund, can now focus their efforts on trying to win a first Ligue 1 title since 2000.

Mbappe believes Monaco can bow out of the competition with their heads held high

Mbappe believes Monaco can bow out of the competition with their heads held high

Mbappe has been this season’s revelation both at home and abroad, reaching 25 goals in all competitions with his consolation effort in Turin, and he is grateful for the experience.

He told asmonaco.com: ‘We came fully armed and wanted to make it difficult for them.

‘It was not enough but we left with our heads held high. My goal was useless but there can be no regrets about this European campaign.

‘By rubbing shoulders with the best clubs we learned a lot – I learned a lot – and we will try to come back next year even better prepared.’

SOURCE: dailymail.co.uk


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