Problematic Juve given injection of faith

MILAN, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Juventus have suffered too much pain in recent times to expect to breeze through Thursday's home game with Palermo after their remarkable return to form at Udinese at the weekend.

Juve won 4-0 at the early Serie A strugglers on Sunday to record their first league victory of the fledgling campaign, but no one is getting carried away at the once great Turin club.

"The victory is certainly an injection of faith for the future, even though we know we shouldn't flatter ourselves," new coach Luigi Del Neri told reporters.

"We still have certain difficulties to overcome but playing like this the results will come."

The twice European champions lost their league opener at Bari before drawing 3-3 with Sampdoria and Lech Poznan in successive home games to underline that problems still linger from last season where they finished seventh in Serie A.

Big spending during the transfer window brought in good players such as Serbia's Milos Krasic rather than the really top talent like Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane which Juve fans had been spoiled with during the 1980s and 1990s.

The damage to the brand from their 2006 demotion for match-fixing and Inter Milan's recent dominance of the Italian game means Juve have struggled to recruit the very best.

This season Juve were also meant to have different sponsors for their home and away shirts in a bid to raise extra revenue but in the end have the same sponsor for both jerseys after the plan backfired.

A sponsor for their new 40,000 seater stadium, which is set to open for the start of next season on the site of the old Delle Alpi ground, has yet to be announced despite club expectations that the branding name would be secured months ago.

Juve currently share the modest Stadio Olimpico with city rivals Torino and shot-shy Palermo arrive there on Thursday on the back of a 2-1 home defeat by Inter and with top striker Fabrizio Miccoli still injured.

Champions and early joint leaders Inter host Bari on Wednesday when stuttering AC Milan visit Lazio.


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