Juventus beat Napoli 2-1 on Saturday night with Gonzalo Higuain scoring the winner, something guaranteed to irk the Partinopei. That the goal came at a time when the Neapolitans were in the ascendancy will only bother them more.
After the game, manager Massimiliano Allegri was quick to say that the win, though timely, would not settle the race for the Scudetto (Sky Sport Italia).
“It is an important result, but is still not a decisive one.
“This match was hard-fought, intense and quite balanced, as in the second half we ran a few risks with one-against-one situations. On the (Faouzi) Ghoulam error we took the lead.
“The game was a little bland in terms of tempo at first, but the intensity stepped up. There were few scoring opportunities, as is natural in these big top of the table matches.
“Jose Callejon always makes that movement round the back of the defenders and we should’ve see him coming, but were caught napping.
“Alex Sandro was like an extra full-back, so we basically played with four when out of possession. We lifted the tempo, Napoli lost intensity and we compliment Napoli for playing very good football. It was certainly a better performance from them than last season.”
Bringing on Claudio Marchisio immediately re-energized the Bianconeri who had been flagging at that point -
“Pjanic worked very hard when defending and I think he was a bit short on fuel, so he was fatigued and has been playing a lot lately.
“He had a good pass for Gonzalo Higuain in the first half, he has different characteristics to a classic midfielder, but can improve when he’s sharper and less tired.”
There was a sense of destiny that Higuain would bag the winner -
“Gonzalo has extraordinary qualities and above all works hard for the team. He was very happy, naturally this was a special game for him.
“He made a choice to come here and absolutely should not feel like a traitor. Instead, he made a courageous decision.”
In a different interview with MediaSet Premium, he touched on a few players and some different points -
“It’s a very important victory in a match against a direct rival that played great football. We gave up an avoidable goal, but after that we played much better. I chose Cuadrado because he’s one that always pressures the opponent.”
“I didn’t tell him anything, he went on the field serene and he sacrificed a lot despite his goal. His chemistry with Mandzukic is very good, I’m satisfied with both of them.”
“Pjanic played well in terms of his movement, he was tired. Since he was on the pitch he did well for the team, since he’s been called up for the national team he hasn’t stopped playing. Giving Pjanic less game time is hard due to Dybala and Pjaca being injured, in the midfield we need his quality.”
Finally, Allegri spoke about the Scudetto and Hernanes:
“Even with 7 points ahead, Napoli are still in the course for it along with Roma. I feel bad for Hernanes that he gets whistled, he played well defensively. It wasn’t easy playing against Napoli.”