Zaccheroni hopes to be more than Juve stop-gap

ROME - Alberto Zaccheroni wants to be more than a stop-gap coach after being put in charge by Juventus until the end of the season, he said on Friday.

Italian media say Zaccheroni has been appointed as a 'ferryman' to steady the ship while the club line up a long-term replacement, with the favourite being Liverpool coach Rafa Benitez.

"I accepted this job with great enthusiasm," the former AC Milan, Lazio and Inter Milan boss told a news conference after replacing the sacked Ciro Ferrara.

"I'm proud to be here. Being the coach of Juventus is the best there is. I've signed a contract until June 30 but my aim is to put the (club) managers in a difficult situation."

After dropping to sixth in Serie A, 16 points behind leaders Inter, Zaccheroni said his "minimum goal" was to take the Turin side back into the Champions League qualification zone.

They are five points behind third-placed AS Roma, who are in the final automatic slot, and four behind Napoli in fourth, good for a place in the preliminary rounds.

Zaccheroni said he was confident his new players were up to the job.

GREAT DETERMINATION

"I'm starting out with great determination and I'll try to transmit this to the lads," said Zaccheroni who has not worked since an unsuccessful spell at Juve's city rivals Torino ended three years ago.

"If the lads become convinced we can reach our goals we'll go a long way. There's a lot of talent here. I'll ask the squad to give me all this talent."

He said the club were right to "turn a (new) leaf" while conceding Ferrara had been hampered by a long series of injuries to important players such as David Trezeguet, Mauro Camoranesi and Vincenzo Iaquinta.

The poor form of Brazilians Diego and Felipe Melo, who arrived in the close season in big-money deals, has also been a factor and Zaccheroni has ideas on how to solve this.

"I'll try to intervene at the technical and tactical level but at the moment the main issue is psychological," said Zaccheroni who won the league with Milan in 1999.

"Diego and Felipe Melo's performances are linked to those of the team. The problem is collective."

President Jean Claude Blanc said Ferrara would stay with Juventus in a role yet to be decided.