01.04.2017 13:30 - in: Serie A S

    Allegri: "Huge month ahead"

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    Massimiliano Allegri looks ahead to a critical April, beginning with Sunday's hotly anticipated Serie A trip to Napoli

    Team news

    "Mandzukic and Dybala have worked to one side away from the group this week, so I’ll make a call on their respective fitness levels today in training. Paulo in particular has just recently returned from Argentina; he isn’t in bad shape but I wouldn’t say he is match fit at the moment.

    "This is a time in which the squad needs to be balanced and managed carefully given the number of important fixtures we have in the next month. The guys are in great condition generally, particularly those that stayed here over the international break.

    "My very best wishes go to Marko Pjaca who has been desperately unlucky with injuries, from his leg break earlier in the campaign to this."

    Key men

    "The system that we have been using in the past few months can function without Mandzukic and Dybala considering that we have players like Cuadrado who can fill any of the three forward positions.

    "As for Higuain, he made a professional choice to join Juventus and that should be respected. It’s no surprise that once he was adored by Napoli supporters and now that he plays for Juve he isn’t; that’s football. He is focused on Sunday’s game and is raring to go after coming back from South America early."


    No off-field distractions

    “Most importantly, Juventus are used to playing games like this against a home crowd for whom facing us is the biggest match of the year. All you can say is that tomorrow, two excellent teams will face off to play for three points that will be hugely important for both.

    "What matters is that the match is remembered for the right reasons; on Sunday and then again on Wednesday we have a great chance to demonstrate everything that is good about Italian football and that our culture is changing for the better. Let’s hope for a passionate and exciting spectacle both on and off the field."

    In-form Napoli

    “Napoli and Roma are in good form and both can reach 90 points. We’ve got a significant advantage over them but we still need a few more wins to get us over the finish line.

    "Winning tomorrow would be a big step towards the prize but victory certainly won’t define the season. Rather, it would put us in a great position to tackle a hugely important month in Serie A, Champions League and Coppa Italia.

    "We need to be at the races for 95 minutes: resilience and mental strength will be key. For now our attentions are solely on Napoli, there will be time to think about Barcelona later.”

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