Juventus
    Juventus
      28.10.2016 13:00 - in: Serie A S

      Allegri: “Huge fixture but not a decisive one”

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      Massimiliano Allegri previews tomorrow’s top of the table clash against Napoli: “Tomorrow’s result won’t decide the fate of the title, that happens in March”

      Importance of fixture 

      “Being only the 11th game of the season, tomorrow night’s result won’t decide the fate of the Scudetto. So far this term, our meetings with title rivals have all come fairly early on but that’s not to say they aren’t important nonetheless.

      “This time last year we were about to lose to Sassuolo and drop to 12th place in the table so relatively we are in a much better position now than we were before meeting Napoli 12 months ago. What last season goes to show is that you need to be consistent over the course of 38 matches and ensure that you still have plenty in the tank come March when the truly crucial moments arrive thick and fast.

      “Tomorrow’s is a huge fixture, of course, but our priority remains that of sealing our progress in the Champions League on Wednesday."

      Team news

      "We’ll be assessing Claudio Marchisio today in training and likewise Patrice Evra who picked up a knock against Sampdoria. In Claudio’s case, if he’s fit and ready to go then he will play but, given the length of his absence, it isn’t worth risking him when there are other crucial games coming up soon.

      “Further forward, as you know, Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic are our only fit natural strikers but in Juan Cuadrado we have a player who can also play centrally if required. There are games where Juan is more effective from the bench, whether Saturday’s encounter is one of them, we’ll see.

      “I’m more inclined to play with three in the central midfield, since to play with only two, you need players with very specific characteristics. As ever, we’ll judge the best system based on the opposition and the condition of the squad.”

      Results business 

      “Sometimes in a league campaign you’ll beat all of your title rivals home and away, which doesn’t necessarily guarantee you the Scudetto. In others, you’ll amass your points against the rest of the league and draw the head-to-heads. What matters ultimately is being consistently good enough to be crowned champions at the end of it all.

      “It is natural that people will talk about Higuain before the game and indeed how he performs this season but what counts is that Juventus retain their trophies and go as far as they can in the Champions League. The target here is of course to beat Napoli and guarantee our place in the UCL last 16 draw in December.

      “Maintaining momentum is important, as is landing a psychological blow on a side that pushed us all the way last time out, but the league title is decided in March and April, not October.”

      Napoli

      "First and foremost, credit is due to Maurizio Sarri who has done a fantastic job so far. Napoli are one of the best teams in the country for the way they play the game. Like us, they’re a side that has been built to compete for the Scudetto and you can see that in the quality of their forward players. Recently, they haven’t deployed a traditional centre-forward and have impressively adapted their style accordingly.

      “They’re strong at the back and that has always been one of their best attributes. Up front, they can dribble past you, they can play through and they can burst in behind so we’ll need to be very careful defensively.”

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