Parkinson names his favourites
Juventus assistant coach Angelo Alessio was happy to hand the
reins back to the returning Antonio Conte having sealed progression
to the last 16 of the Champions League.
A 1-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk, courtesy of Oleksandr
Kucher’s own-goal in the 56th minute, also saw the Bianconeri top
Group E and avoid a clutch of tricky opponents in the next
Juve head coach Conte returns from a four-month suspension for
his involvement in a match-fixing scandal to take control of Juve
at Palermo this weekend.
And Alessio was delighted to cede control to Conte with the team
in such rude health, telling juventus.com: “We knew we were in for
a tough game and coming out on top fills us with pride.
“It was no simple task today but once we managed to put the
reins on their forwards they found it hard to play their usual game
and support the front men.
“We’re delighted to go through and to have qualified as group
winners. Credit must go to these lads because even without Antonio
they’ve done everything that’s been asked of them.
“As time has passed we’ve become more and more confident in our
own means. We showed that first against Chelsea then again this
Despite defeat in the Donbass Arena, Shakhtar claimed second
place in the group and progression to the knockout stages at the
expense of reigning champions Chelsea.
It had been suggested that Juve and Shakhtar would play for a
convenient draw to make it mathematically impossible for the Blues
to progress, a tactic Bianconeri director Beppe Marotta flatly
He said: “We knew we were up against a top team and that we only
needed a point, but we didn’t play for a draw. Our aim was to win
and win we did.
“We’ve come through a tough group, winning the last two games
against European champions Chelsea and the revelation of the
“Our self-esteem has increased with each game and we’ve shown
that we can compete with anyone.”
Diminutive forward Sebastian Giovinco played a significant role
in the only goal of the game, nipping onto Stephan Lichtsteiner’s
cross to get a touch on the ball before Kucher turned it into his
“I touched the ball, I don’t know how much that influenced
things but if I hadn’t made that run the defender probably would
have been able to clear it,” Giovinco said.
“In any case, the main thing was that we managed to score and go
Parkinson, whose side are currently sixth in the table, three
points behind Cheltenham who occupy the third automatic promotion
spot, said there was little to choose between any of the play-off
He said: “Gillingham and Port Vale are the obvious stand-out
teams for me. We played well against Port Vale, but I saw them play
against Oxford at home and they were excellent that night and
Gillingham on the first day of the season were strong.
“They’ve had a little bit of a wobble, but they’ve got a good
side and a strong squad. Those two and Fleetwood and Rotherham and
teams like that, it’s so competitive this year, really
Meanwhile, Parkinson is hoping injured pair Kyel Reid and Zavon
Hines will both be back in contention for the Christmas
Winger Reid has missed the last 14 games due to a groin injury
and Hines has been sidelined since the middle of last month with an
Parkinson added: “Kyle and Zavon have been on the pitch (on
Monday) down at the ground with the physios doing a session and
I’ll know a little bit more once I know how they got on.
“But they’re progressing well. We’ve got to be looking around
the Christmas fixtures. We’re expecting they’re both going to be in