Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri has told his title-chasing players they must set aside the shock of crumbling against Milan as they prepare to tackle a dangerous Atalanta side.

A torrid Tuesday at San Siro saw Juventus lead 2-0 before folding in the final 30 minutes to lose 4-2 against Stefano Pioli's Rossoneri.

Third-placed Atalanta have the capacity to tear into any team and Sarri admits he simply does not have time to analyse in detail why leaders Juve lost their way so badly in midweek.

The solution, he suggested in a news conference on Friday, is simply to move on and try to forget about that abject surrender.

"If the match against Milan had happened earlier on, the priority would be to go in search of the causes," head coach Sarri said.

"Given that we are in the final stages, the priority becomes ensuring that it doesn't have a negative impact. We have to look forward immediately."

There is still every reason for Juve to be positive, given they hold a seven-point lead over second-placed Lazio heading into the weekend.

And with seven rounds of games to play, it would take a sustained slump for them to be caught.

"Right now, almost all teams struggle to have continuity for 90 minutes and what I would like to see is organisation, which in certain moments is decisive," said Sarri.

In preaching the message that Juve need to bring level heads to the Allianz Stadium on Saturday, Sarri knows any wobble could be punished.

The Bianconeri capitalised when Atalanta lost their way when the teams met in Bergamo back in November, the hosts surging ahead early in the second half before Gonzalo Higuain's double and Paulo Dybala's late goal gave Juve a 3-1 victory.

"In the away match Atalanta held a very intense rhythm for 55 minutes but then they likely couldn't hold it for the final stages," Sarri said.

"I think we'll see a different type of match this time around.

"This is an important phase of the season. Atalanta are the real deal and are doing really well and their stats reflect that, especially away from home. They're a very difficult opponent and have been for some time."

Dybala returns from a suspension this weekend. Sarri said he doubted whether the Argentinian would have been able to prevent the "blackout" that Juve suffered in Milan.

Real Madrid could face a reunion with Cristiano Ronaldo before a Clasico showdown with Barcelona after Friday's draw mapped out the final stages of this season's Champions League.

There are plenty of pieces to fall into place before that scenario is possible, with Madrid nursing a 2-1 deficit ahead of their last-16 return against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium next month.

The winner of the City-Madrid tie will face the victor from Lyon versus Juventus when the reformatted one-off final stages begin in Lisbon from August 12.

Ronaldo and his team-mates are 1-0 down following the away leg against their Ligue 1 opponents.

Those teams will do battle for a spot in quarter-final one, the winner of which will take on the team to emerge from quarter-final three, which was drawn as Napoli or Barcelona versus Chelsea or Bayern Munich.

Fresh from their domestic double, Bayern are strongly placed having won 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in the initial match, although Lionel Messi and his colleagues have their encounter on a knife edge following a 1-1 draw at Stadio San Paolo.

The other quarter-finals comprise teams who have already booked their spots in Lisbon.

PSG overturned a first-leg deficit to knockout Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16 and face the similarly free-scoring Atalanta.

The winner of that tie will take on RB Leipzig or Atletico Madrid, who overcame respective Premier League opposition in the form of Tottenham and holders Liverpool in the previous stage.

Champions League quarter-final draw in full:

QF1) Real Madrid or Manchester City v Lyon or Juventus
QF2) RB Leipzig v Atletico Madrid
QF3) Napoli or Barcelona v Chelsea or Bayern Munich
QF4) Atalanta v PSG

Champions League semi-finals

Winner QF1 v Winner QF3
Winner QF 2 v Winner QF4

Kai Havertz is reportedly ready to leave Bayer Leverkusen – and he knows where he wants to go.

The Germany international enjoyed another fine campaign with the Bundesliga club, leading to interest from across Europe.

And, it seems Havertz knows his preferred destination.

 

TOP STORY – HAVERTZ WANTS CHELSEA MOVE

Havertz wants a move to Chelsea and his agents have told Bayer Leverkusen he would like to leave if an important bid arrives in the next few weeks, according to Fabrizio Romano.

The 21-year-old is contracted at Leverkusen until 2022, but has been linked with the likes of Real Madrid.

Havertz scored 17 goals for Leverkusen in 2019-20, having netted 20 times in the previous season.

ROUND-UP

- Amid growing pressure on Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona have reassured the forward he has a future at the LaLiga club, according to ESPN.

- Real Madrid will listen to offers for forward Luka Jovic, according to Marca. The Serbia international has struggled during his first season at the LaLiga giants, scoring just twice in 25 games. Jovic has been linked to the likes of Milan, Arsenal and Newcastle United.

- Staying at Real Madrid and Sport reports the LaLiga leaders will target Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe and Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga next year.

- Paul Pogba may be happy to stay at Manchester United. Fabrizio Romano reports United have opened contract talks with the midfielder's agent Mino Raiola, with Pogba having been linked to Madrid and Juventus.

- Alexandre Lacazette could be set for an Arsenal exit. CalcioMercato reports Juventus have already started talking to the forward's agents about a possible move.

- Also in Turin, CalcioMercato says Juventus are considering a move for Atalanta left-back Robin Gosens if Alex Sandro decides to leave.

Gian Piero Gasperini played down Atalanta's chances of winning the Serie A title ahead of defending champions Juventus following their ninth consecutive league victory.

Atalanta continued their red-hot form with a 2-0 win at home to lowly Sampdoria thanks to Rafael Toloi and Luis Muriel on Wednesday.

Gasperini's Atalanta have not lost in Serie A since January and are in the midst of a 13-game unbeaten streak across all competitions.

Only two points adrift of second-placed Lazio through 31 matches, Atalanta could close to within six points of Juve with six games remaining if they beat the league leaders on Saturday.

However, Atalanta head coach Gasperini dismissed the Scudetto talk post-match.

"We can't let that thought into our heads, because Juve have the Scudetto in their hands," Gasperini, whose Atalanta are also already through to the Champions League quarter-finals, told Sky Sport Italia.

"Even yesterday [Tuesday], despite their 4-2 defeat with Milan, they still showed they are the strongest team. We are trying to challenge only ourselves, to secure a Champions League place, try to beat our points record and then eventually we'll see if we can finish ahead of Lazio or Inter.

"We knew Samp would be difficult this evening, as they are in good shape physically, defend very well and are dangerous on the counter-attack.

"We did so well, because this is a risky type of match, but we played with intensity and proved we have many different ways of winning games. That is valuable."

The unique competition between the Champions League last eight in August is likely to produce a surprise winner, according to Abel Xavier.

Former Portugal international Xavier is thrilled the country's capital city of Lisbon will host one-off matches from the quarter-final stage onwards as the competition ends with a mini-tournament.

Atalanta and RB Leipzig are among the teams already to have secured their place in the last eight, along with Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid.

Lyon and Napoli are hoping to upset Juventus and Barcelona respectively when the last-16 stage is concluded, while Bayern Munich and Manchester City – who lead their own ties – are rated as favourites to win the competition.

But Xavier feels the unique format and environment could benefit the sides who are not used to playing in the final stages.

"Yes, I think from my analysis of what I've seen with surprising results that have been happening in the [domestic] leagues, there is an extra buzz with the top teams because of the fans," Xavier said to Stats Perform News.

"There is a moment where fans give a buzz to the top teams. I think there is going to be a surprise in this last stage. 

"There are teams who are in the group and they can surprise because the teams are more exposed. 

"The teams who aren't used to being in this stage, they are more strong mentally because they play more freely, they play more open and the gap [in quality] will reduce, making games more competitive.

"For that reason, I honestly believe that it is going to be difficult and there will be a surprise in the end."

Xavier hopes the Champions League conclusion will be a fitting reward for those who have worked hardest during the coronavirus pandemic.

The former Liverpool defender added: "It's a completely different environment because of the pandemic situation and everybody readjusts. There is sporting reasons and also economic reasons.

"When you're looking at the leagues and what options they have to play and finish the leagues, there are a few countries that have decided to not continue playing, repeating the health issues.

"They for me are the priority - before football comes health. Of course, everyone must be protected and safe. 

"Portugal is one of the countries that has managed the [COVID-19] crisis very well. I think when you look at the impact, now things are becoming better, I think it's a safe place [to play football]. 

"For that reason, I believe that the opportunity to receive the eight best teams and play this kind of format in Lisbon is also a way to appreciate and say thanks for all those who made these events possible. 

"We are talking about people who work in health, hospitals because we are talking about health matters. If you are not safe you cannot have football either. 

"For that reason, I think Portugal, if things keep going the same way [with COVID-19], the teams will come here and it's going to be a great competition in a positive way.

"It's also going to attract a very positive image in Portugal because when you look back, Portugal was able to organise the big events in the best way possible. 

"For that reason, I think the final stages will be possible and I hope we can have a percentage of the public in the stadium, that would also be an upgrade if things [with COVID-19] stay like this with safety."

Juventus have sold midfielder Simone Muratore to Atalanta for €7million, the Serie A leaders confirmed on Monday. 

Muratore, 22, came through Juve's academy and has been a regular for their second team in Serie C over the past two seasons. 

He made his first-team debut as a late substitute in Friday's 4-0 Serie A win over Lecce, replacing Federico Bernardeschi. 

While the former Italy youth international has been denied a future in the Juve senior squad, Muratore looks set to have a proper crack at Serie A with Atalanta. 

The club have not confirmed the length of his contract, but Juve revealed they will receive the fee over four years.

Simone Inzaghi admitted the Serie A title was "a little bit far" for Lazio after their loss to Atalanta on Wednesday.

Lazio gave up a two-goal lead as their 21-game unbeaten league run came to an end with a 3-2 loss in Bergamo.

The loss dealt a huge blow to Lazio's chances of winning a first league title since 2000 as they were left four points behind leaders Juventus.

Inzaghi accepted winning Serie A looked difficult, but the Lazio head coach is not giving up on his team's chances.

"This is what the table says," he told a news conference.

"[The title] is now a little bit far, but we have 11 games, 33 points and we have to win again.

"Saturday will be a tough match against Fiorentina but we will prepare it at our best."

A Marten de Roon own goal and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic's strike inside 11 minutes had Lazio in control.

Robin Gosens reduced the deficit for Atalanta before goals from Ruslan Malinovskiy and Jose Luis Palomino saw the fourth-placed hosts to their win.

Gian Piero Gasperini joked that Atalanta do not need a coach after watching the team's stunning Serie A comeback against Lazio from the stands.

Atalanta head coach Gasperini served a touchline ban as the Bergamo high flyers rallied past title hopefuls Lazio 3-2 on Wednesday.

Lazio – looking to claw back within a point of leaders Juventus – raced out to a 2-0 lead inside 11 minutes courtesy of a Marten de Roon own goal and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic's wonderful 25-yard effort.

But Atalanta stormed back after Robin Gosens reduced the deficit prior to half-time, snapping Lazio's 21-match unbeaten streak in the league thanks to Ruslan Malinovskiy's memorable equaliser and Jose Luis Palomino's 80th-minute winner.

Gasperini lauded fourth-placed Atalanta, who moved within four points of Inter after taking their tally to a Serie A-high 77 goals through just 27 matches.

"It's no fun in the stands, as you can't intervene even on the tiny things like advising your players," Gasperini told Sky Sport Italia.

"It's a struggle, but it was also immensely satisfying, as I got the feeling this team doesn't need a coach anymore! They know exactly what to do and all it takes is a gesture or a word to get them going.

"This Atalanta side has this maturity and confidence in its football that it never wavers, even in the most difficult of circumstances like this evening.

"Fighting back from 2-0 against a team like Lazio, always having the confidence that we'd turn it around, not many squads can say they feel like that."

Atalanta, who also scored a season-high 77 league goals last season, travel to Udinese on Sunday.

Lazio suffered a damaging blow to their Serie A title hopes after letting a 2-0 lead slip in a dramatic 3-2 defeat to Atalanta.

Argentinian centre-back Jose Luis Palomino was the unlikely matchwinner, heading home a right-wing corner from countryman Papu Gomez 10 minutes from time.

Juventus' 2-0 win at Bologna on Tuesday opened up a four-point gap at the summit and Lazio wasted no time in trying to craft a response – racing into a two-goal lead inside 11 minutes.

A rapid break panicked Marten de Roon into putting Manuel Lazzari's cross into his own net and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic whipped home a wonderful 25-yard effort.

Atalanta, who remain six points ahead of Roma in the final Champions League qualification place, applied mounting pressure as the first half progressed and a muscular header from Robin Gosens on the end of Hans Hateboer's cross reduced the arrears.

Ruslan Malinovskiy and Berat Djimsiti both went close in the opening stages of the second period, before the former produced a stunning equaliser – thundering into the top-right corner from outside the box after Lazio failed to fully clear a 66th-minute corner.

Another set-piece would prove their downfall and Atalanta looked the most likely team to add to the scoreline thereafter, with the mercurial Gomez and substitute Luis Muriel nearly dishing out further punishment as Lazio laboured, sapped of their earlier verve.

Simone Inzaghi's men must find a response when they welcome Fiorentina to the capital this weekend, by which point Juve might have extended their lead to seven points by beating Lecce on Friday.

Mario Pasalic has joined Atalanta from Chelsea on a permanent deal after the Serie A club exercised an option in the terms of his loan.

The 25-year-old midfielder moved to Gian Piero Gasperini's side on a season-long loan in July 2018 and that deal was extended for another campaign last year.

Atalanta have reportedly paid €15million to sign the Croatia international on a permanent basis.

Pasalic joined Chelsea from Hajduk Split in 2014 but did not make a senior appearance for the Blues in six years.

He was loaned to Elche, Monaco, Milan and Spartak Moscow before joining Atalanta, where he has enjoyed the best football of his career.

"We thank Mario for his service to the club and wish him the best of luck for the next chapter of his career," Chelsea said in a statement.

Pasalic has scored seven goals in 33 appearances in all competitions in 2019-20, helping Atalanta challenge for the top four in Serie A and reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Serie A resumes on Saturday, making it the latest major European League to return to action. 

The coronavirus pandemic forced most global sport to shut down in March, but the Bundesliga, LaLiga and Premier League have all recommenced their 2019-20 campaigns – albeit behind closed doors. 

Football has already returned in Italy, however, with Napoli edging out Juventus to lift the Coppa Italia trophy on Wednesday. 

But the top tier makes its comeback with a double-header of Torino v Parma and Hellas Verona v Cagliari on Saturday, with everything from relegation to the title still to be decided. 

As we look forward to the season's resumption, we glance back at the best Opta stats from Italy's top-flight campaign so far. 

JUVENTUS

- Juve have been trailing for 133 minutes in 2019-20, less time than any other team in Serie A this season.

- At home, Juve are unbeaten in their previous 34 league games (W29, D5), more than double the next best streak (Lazio at 15).

- This term, Cristiano Ronaldo equalled the record of 11 consecutive goalscoring appearances in a single Serie A season. He has also already levelled his haul of goals from 2018-19 despite making nine fewer appearances, averaging 0.95 goals per game compared to 0.68 last season.

- Among the players who made their debut in the three-points-for-a-win era, Ronaldo was the fastest to reach 42 goals (52 appearances) – before him the record was 58 games played (Vincenzo Montella, Andriy Shevchenko and Brazil great Ronaldo).

LAZIO

- Lazio are unbeaten in their previous 21 league games (W17 D4), already an all-time Serie A record for the club. Six of the seven previous teams with streaks as long as that in a single season went on to win the Scudetto (the only exception was Roma in 2009-10).

- Ciro Immobile has 27 goals in 26 games in 2019-20. Only Antonio Valentin Angelillo (29) in has managed more after 26 matchdays.

INTER

- Antonio Conte is the first Inter coach to see his team score in each of his first 19 games in all competitions.

- Inter have won nine of their 13 Serie A away games this season (D2 L2): only in the 2006-07 campaign have the Nerazzurri won more (11).

- Romelu Lukaku is one of three players to have scored at least 17 Serie A goals in their first 25 games of a debut season with Inter, emulating Giuseppe Meazza (1929-30) and Stefano Nyers (1948-49).

ATALANTA

- Atalanta's 70 goals in this Serie A campaign already represents their second-best haul in a single season (77 in 2018-19).

- No team has scored as many as 70 goals in the first 25 matches of a single Serie A season since 1959, when Fiorentina netted 79.

- Three Atalanta players are into double figures in terms of goals this season: Josip Ilicic, Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata. Only in 1949-50 and 1951-52 have the club had as many players reach 10 goals.

MILAN

- Since Stefano Pioli joined Milan, they have kept the most clean sheets in Serie A (seven).

- Since his first spell at Milan (which began in August 2010), Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored 60 goals for the Rossoneri in all competitions, more than any other player with the club in the period.

Massimo Carrera believes Atalanta can win the Serie A title next season with two or three "quality signings" as he hailed Gian Piero Gasperini's team.

Atalanta have become the great entertainers of Italian and European football under head coach Gasperini, scoring a Serie A-high 70 goals through 25 matches before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

No Serie A team scored more goals last season as Atalanta finished third to qualify for the Champions League for the first time – the Bergamo-based side reached the quarter-finals in Europe prior to the COVID-19 crisis.

Led by Papu Gomez and Josip Ilicic, Atalanta are fourth in the standings and occupy the final Champions League spot as they prepare to resume their 2019-20 Serie A season against Sassuolo on Sunday.

Asked if Atalanta can challenge for the Scudetto next season, former defender Carrera – who captained the club before leaving for Napoli in 2003 – told Stats Perform News: "Why not, I think that Atalanta might win the Scudetto with two or three more quality purchases."

"I played for Atalanta for seven years and still today I live in Bergamo," the AEK Athens head coach added.

"Atalanta are a serious and competent club that has built a great team year after year, enhancing young talents from their youth sector. 

"Gasperini is doing a great job, they play a good football made of intensity and quality in all departments.  It is no longer a surprise but a reality."

Carrera joined Atalanta from Juventus in 1996, after winning Serie A, Champions League, UEFA Cup, Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana titles in Turin.

The 56-year-old also had his first taste of coaching, albeit briefly, at Juve in 2012 after head coach Antonio Conte was handed a 10-month ban – later reduced to four months – for failing to report match-fixing.

Carrera, who played alongside Conte in Turin before reuniting with his former team-mate as technical director in 2011, stepped into the caretaker role and claimed the Supercoppa Italiana against Napoli.

Fast forward to 2020 and Juve – a point clear of Lazio atop the table – are preparing for Wednesday's Coppa Italia final against Napoli in Rome, before travelling to Bologna on June 22.

Juve also lost 1-0 to Lyon in the opening leg of their Champions League last-16 tie prior to the COVID-19 crisis.

Cristiano Ronaldo has played a key role for Juve since arriving from Real Madrid in 2018, scoring 53 goals in 76 games for the Serie A champions.

"Ronaldo with his qualities is one of Juventus' weapons thanks to his determination, professionalism and desire to win," Carrera, who coached Spartak Moscow to the 2016-17 Russian Premier League title, said. "And I'm sure that he could help Juventus to become champions again."

Papu Gomez believes Atalanta can win the coronavirus-hit Champions League, with the possibility of one-off matches leading into the decider.

Atalanta dazzled before the COVID-19 pandemic halted football in March, the Serie A side seeing off Valencia 8-4 on aggregate to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.

UEFA wants to complete both the Champions League and Europa League once domestic leagues have been concluded, meaning the remaining fixtures could potentially resume in August.

One proposal has been for the quarter-finals and semi-finals to be condensed into one-off fixtures instead of two-legged ties at a neutral venue until the final, which could be held in Lisbon.

Atalanta star Gomez told Tyc Sports: "We touched the sky, experiencing a unique and historic moment for the club and city.

"It's incredible that it all ground to a halt. Now we're going to be in the Champions League quarter-finals and it would frankly suit us to play one-off games, because anything can happen in 90 minutes. It's going to be spectacular."

Asked who he would like to face in a Champions League final, Argentine attacker Gomez picked out a meeting with countryman Lionel Messi.

"Maybe a Spanish side, hopefully I'd play against Leo Messi for Barcelona," the 32-year-old said.

"Considering our playing style, I'd say we would have a better chance against a Spanish team rather than English or German."

The 2019-20 Serie A season is set to resume on June 20 following the coronavirus crisis.

Atalanta, who are fourth in the table through 25 games, will host Sassuolo on June 21.

Gian Piero Gasperini's Atalanta had won six consecutive matches in all competitions prior to the postponement.

Atalanta owner Antonio Percassi has given his backing to head coach Gian Piero Gasperini, who was criticised by Valencia for being at a Champions League game despite suffering from coronavirus symptoms.

Gasperini revealed last week he was scared as he appeared to suffer from COVID-19 as Atalanta defeated Valencia 4-3 behind closed doors in the Champions League on March 10.

The Bergamo outfit advanced to the quarter-finals 8-4 on aggregate at Mestalla, although the competition has since been suspended due to the virus.

Valencia expressed "surprise" at Gasperini's comments, suggesting his actions "put at risk numerous people" in the city.

However, Percassi does not wish to drag the saga out, insisting he and Gasperini followed the rules and are moving forward.

"I am with Gasperini and the players. I am looking ahead," he told L'Eco di Bergamo.

"The controls say that, like Atalanta with our members, we did everything in compliance with the rules and with the utmost prudence.

"This is fundamental for us. We are in Bergamo."

With the Champions League reportedly set to resume in August, Atalanta will first return to Serie A action on June 21 as they look to secure qualification for Europe's elite club competition for next season.

La Dea are fourth, three points clear of fifth-placed Roma with a game in hand.

Valencia expressed their "surprise" at Gian Piero Gasperini's revelation that he suffered coronavirus symptoms during the Champions League last-16 tie, insisting the Atalanta head coach put people at risk.

Gasperini revealed over the weekend he was scared while appearing to suffer from COVID-19 as Atalanta defeated Valencia 4-3 behind closed doors in the Champions League on March 10.

Atalanta advanced to the Champions League quarter-finals 8-4 on aggregate at the Mestalla before the 2019-20 football season was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In light of Gasperini's comments, LaLiga outfit Valencia released a statement, which read: "Valencia CF wish to publicly express our surprise at comments made by Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini which appeared in the Italian press this Sunday, stating that, both the day before and the day of the match played on March 10th at Mestalla, the coach of our opposing team in the UEFA Champions League last-16 game was aware of suffering symptoms theoretically compatible with those of coronavirus, without taking preventive measures. Such actions, if this was the case, would have put at risk numerous people during the trip to – and stay in – Valencia.

"It should be remembered that this game was held behind closed doors amidst strict safety measures, on the order of the Spanish health authorities, to prevent the risk of COVID-19 contagion, precisely due to the presence of persons from an area already publicly classified as 'at risk' at that time."

LaLiga and Serie A have been suspended since March but the two leagues are preparing to return following the COVID-19 crisis.

The Seville derby between Sevilla and Real Betis will headline LaLiga's return on June 11 in Spain.

Italy's Serie A, meanwhile, is scheduled to restart on June 20.

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