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Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri expects tough title battle with Napoli

Allegri admits it will not be easy to catch Napoli and retain the Scudetto.

Massimiliano Allegri
Massimiliano Allegri

Massimiliano Allegri does not expect a seventh straight Serie A title to fall into Juventus’ lap and admits winning the Scudetto again would be an “extraordinary feat”.

Before Juve’s trip to face bitter rivals Fiorentina in Tuscany on Friday night, Bianconeri boss Allegri hailed the achievements of his Napoli counterpart Maurizio Sarri.

The southerners lead the table by a single point heading into the final 15 games of the season and Allegri understands how important it will be to pick up all three points at a hostile Stadio Artemio Franchi and maintain the pressure on Sarri’s side.

He said at a pre-match press conference: “The numbers tell us that Napoli are a great team and it’s been a great duel between us. Napoli are top and that’s 99 per cent down to Sarri.

“We’re getting into the crunch part of the season, even if there is still a long way to go.

“At the end it’ll be the best team who wins the title. We have to keep following our own path, hoping that, by May 27, we’ll have collected enough points.”

On Fiorentina, who despite their current mid-table malaise traditionally make life very difficult for Juve in Florence, Allegri added: “It’s a serious rivalry, as you can see every year in how much they want to beat us.

“It will be a difficult match, especially if you consider they’re second best team in Italy for recording shots on goal.”

Allegri teased a return to action for long-term injury absentee Claudio Marchisio, but confirmed Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado, Blaise Matuidi and Benedikt Howedes will remain sidelined.

Federico Bernardeschi is set to be unleashed against his former employers, and Allegri is confident that the Italy winger can rise above any hostile reception and make an impact for Juve.

“Tomorrow Bernardeschi will play,” said the boss. “Will it be tough for him? He made a professional choice and if the Fiorentina fans whistle him it’s only because he’s a Juve player now and they want to put him off, but he’ll be fine.”

There are no injury or suspension concerns in the Fiorentina squad, and La Viola will be reinvigorated by their dramatic 2-1 victory at Bologna last time out.

Forward Federico Chiesa told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “Juve are a world-class team and it will be a really difficult match for us. However, believe me when I say we will give 100 per cent for the shirt.

“The win in Bologna was very important as it has given us a boost heading into this next challenge.

“Now we are all ready to confront Juve and we’ll be running out there in front of a happy crowd.”

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph