Football: Barca form goes out of the window in the Champions League, says Juventus manager

Juventus's head coach Massimiliano Allegri gestures during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Chievo Verona, on April 8, 2017.
Juventus's head coach Massimiliano Allegri gestures during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Chievo Verona, on April 8, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

Milan (AFP) - Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri played down the importance of Barcelona's shock league 0-2 defeat at Malaga on Saturday as the Bianconeri prepare to meet the La Liga giants for the first time since losing the 2015 Champions League final.

Juventus host Luis Enrique's men in Turin on Tuesday in what will be their first meeting since the Catalans humbled Allegri's men 3-1 in Berlin two years ago.

The Italians have improved since then and, having began this season's competition among the title favourites, head into Tuesday's quarter-final confident of at least earning a first-leg victory.

But any psychological boost offered by 10-man Barcelona's surprise loss was rejected by Allegri, who expects Barca to be back to their clinical best.

"It's not worth taking into consideration, because Barcelona are used to playing these games (in Europe)," Allegri told Premium Sport.

"For me, it's the same Barcelona. When you have players like (Lionel) Messi, (Andres) Iniesta, (Luis) Suarez, and Neymar, you don't mess up games very often."

Juventus warmed up for Tuesday's clash with a cagey 2-0 win over Chievo.

Gonzalo Higuain scored his second brace in as many outings to see Allegri's men go nine points clear of Roma, in second, ahead of their trip to Bologna on Sunday.

But in a match that saw playmaker Paulo Dybala sparkle, Juve missed chance after chance in front of goal.

"It was a difficult game, but we knew it would be like that. Chievo are a tough side, but we've got the three points," said Higuain, who could have added to his 23rd and 84th-minute strikes only to fire inches wide of the upright late in the second half.

For Allegri, an ugly win is still worth three points and he said Juve "better be ready" to make Barca's next away trip one to forget as well.

"We better be ready, because it's a quarter-final. We respect Barcelona, but we go into this game knowing we have a great chance to make the next round," he added.

"We have to make it tough for them. When we get a chance to attack, we will, and when we have to defend we'll do that as well. It's simply a case of working hard."

Higuain, who set a 36-goal record in Serie A while with Napoli last season, took his Serie A tally for the season to 21 in 31 games.

The Argentinian international striker added: "Now, we'll start thinking about Barcelona, and of recovering so we're in top condition.

"We're relaxed, it will be a hard game against a really great side but, just as we respect them, they'll also have respect for us."