02.12.2017 00:29 - in: Serie A S

    Allegri: “A real Juve performance”

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    The boss lauded his side's defensive display in Friday's 1-0 triumph over Napoli

    Massimiliano Allegri praised Juventus for rediscovering their defensive solidity of old against Napoli – claiming it was the key to victory.

    “We needed a real Juve performance tonight and that's what we produced” the boss told journalists in the wake of Friday's 1-0 success.

    “We had to dig in because we were up against a great side but we didn't give them an inch. Kudos to the lads for getting the win – it will do us good.

    “Perhaps we've focused more on trying to play nice football than being solid up till now, but the big games are won in defence, and so we proved tonight.

    “We still need to improve in certain areas – like our counter-attacking play – but we're improving fitness-wise and we'll get better technically too.”

    The title race is looking to be closer than ever this season and while victory over Napoli might have dealt a psychological blow, Allegri insisted tonight's opponents remain the team to beat for the Scudetto.

    “We may have won today but we're not the favourites for the title – Napoli and Inter are. If we want to win a seventh straight title – after three years when we've fought to the end in pretty much every competition we've played in – we're going to have to produce something extraordinary. Ordinary is not enough.”

    Allegri also commented on the impressive Douglas Costa as well as his decision to play Gonzalo Higuain despite concerns over his hand injury.

    “Douglas Costa was excellent today – at both ends of the pitch.

    “I decided Gonzalo would play when I realised [Mario] Mandzukic wouldn't be available. Credit to the medical staff – they did a great job.”

    A morale-boosting victory also sets the Bianconeri up nicely for next week's crucial Champions League match against Olympiacos.

    “It was a good test for us going into a crunch game on Tuesday. We have to make sure we book our place in the last 16.”

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