Juve will field under-strength team
By Mark Buckingham. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
JUVENTUS have confirmed Newcastle United's worst fears by claiming they will field a weakened side in their crunch Champions League trip to Dinamo Kiev.
The Magpies require the Italian champions to avoid defeat in Ukraine, and then hope they can polish off Feyenoord in De Kuip.
But with Juventus' spot in the second phase already secured, noises emanating from the Old Lady camp suggest they will leave a plethora of stars behind when they travel to Kiev.
Coach Marcello Lippi, and midfield lynchpin Edgar Davids, both insist there is no need to dispatch a strong squad to Eastern Europe.
"This was our first objective of the season and qualifying with one game to go is very important, for all sorts of reasons," stated Lippi.
"Beating Feyenoord was not easy - they are a side to be respected - but it gives us a chance to catch our breath in Kiev.
"Big squads like this one need to be balanced between resting certain players, letting others get a run out and maintaining the centre of the team."
Dutch powerhouse Davids echoed his manager's sentiments, and offered little hope to Newcastle's Champions League aspirations.
Davids said: "We will not go with our best team to Kiev. There is no way. This is a good chance for our younger players to play.
"The older ones will get a rest. I expect that we will use the players who have hardly played. Those who have played most of our games will get a rest in Kiev.
"We will have a weakened team. We have a heavy programme and can concentrate on Serie A now.
"We have done our business in the Champions League by qualifying, which is what the other teams should have done. It is not our fault."
One crumb of comfort for Newcastle is that despite Juventus going 17 games without an away win in the Champions League, their last success was in Kiev in the 1997/98 campaign.