TURIN, Italy (AP) – Juventus begins the new Serie A season nearly the same way it started the last campaign: with a new coach, a large cast of new players and underlying hope that all the new pieces can gel together quickly.
It didn't work last season - when Juventus finished seventh and missed out completely on qualifying for Europe - but new club president Andrea Agnelli may have found a better formula this time.
Antonio Conte, who spent 13 seasons with Juventus as a player, has been hired to replace Luigi Del Neri as coach, and key signings include midfielders Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal, plus striker Mirko Vucinic.
However, a 0-0 draw in a preseason friendly with Betis and a 2-1 loss to AC Milan in the Trofeo Berlusconi exhibition showed there is still work to be done before Sunday's opener at Udinese.
''We need time,'' Conte said. ''We're a squad under construction. While the other teams have a base to build on we're starting from scratch. We know we have a lot of work to do.''
Still, Juventus is determined to open its new stadium in style, with the 41,000-seat facility built on the site of the old Stadio delle Alpi, without the running track but with all the modern amenities.
After a ceremonial opening against Notts County, the club that gave Juventus its white-and-black jerseys, on Sept. 8, Juventus will play its first official match in the new stadium against Parma on Sept. 10 or 11.
Pirlo joined on a free transfer after his contract at AC Milan expired, while Juventus paid Bayer Leverkusen ?10.2 million ($14.7 million) for the Chile international Vidal and ?15 million ($22 million) to Roma for Vucinic.
The 27-time champion also has two new fullbacks: left back Reto Ziegler came over from relegated Sampdoria and Stephan Lichtsteiner joined from Lazio for ?10 million ($14.4 million).
Players leaving included Hasan Salihamidzic to Wolfsburg, Felipe Melo to Galatasaray, Mohamed Sissoko to Paris Saint-Germain and Alberto Aquilani, who returned to Liverpool after a loan season.
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon appears fully healthy after missing the first half of last season with a back injury from the World Cup, while 36-year-old captain Alessandro Del Piero is preparing to begin his 19th season with Juventus.
Winger Fabio Quagliarella is regaining his form following knee surgery, forward Vincenzo Iaquinta could miss the first month of the season with a muscle problem, and Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg is pushing for the transfer of center back Leonardo Bonucci.
Juventus general director Giuseppe Marotta has said he will sign two to three more players before the transfer market closes Aug. 31.
''We know we need to improve and we want to satisfy the coach's needs,'' Marotta said Friday. ''There are still 10 days remaining in the transfer window and anything can happen.''