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Allegri: You win titles with games like these

Manager’s post-match comments after Juve held at Napoli

SSC Napoli v Juventus FC - Serie A
Massimiliano Allegri
Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

Juventus scored early at Napoli and managed to hold on to that lead for nearly an hour, but ended up drawing 1-1. The Bianconeri lead at the top of the table is not down to six points ahead of second-placed Roma, with Napoli a further four points adrift.

After the game, here is what manager Massimiliano Allegri had to say.

“At the start we had played well, moving it from side to side, but once we took the lead, we allowed Napoli to take control and in my view we weren’t sharp enough in possession.

“I had expected there to be difficulties. You win titles with games like these, by picking up difficult points on your travels.

“We’ve got four games at home now, four away, so we need to do well. On Wednesday we can get our place in the Final, know we’re facing Napoli again and can prepare with great calm.”

How will Wednesday be different, when Juve return to Naples for the second leg of the Coppa Italia semifinals with a 3-1 lead in hand?

Paulo Dybala barely trained for 12 days and tonight I didn’t want to play him at all. Juan Cuadrado only returned on Friday, so I didn’t want to risk them.

“I have to compliment my players, because you can’t always dominate games and especially not against this Napoli. We allowed a few shots in the first half and in the second had lowered Pjanic to the midfield, creating some good opportunities.

“There is absolutely no shame, as the important thing is to bring home the result. We weren’t at our best tonight, it certainly was not an easy night considering everything around the match, but the lads handled it very well.”

How did he feel Gonzalo Higuain did in his first game back at the San Paolo stadium, with his every touch whistled loudly by fans happily using the team-provided whistles.

“Higuain had a good performance, especially in the first half. I’m happy with what he did. He is grateful to Napoli, just as Napoli should be grateful to him. They can take separate professional paths, but that’s natural in this business.”

What was his thinking behind giving Mario Lemina the start in the role behind the striker?

“We have two games this week, Cuadrado returned on Friday, so this was a very important game for us, but not as important as Wednesday.

Kwadwo Asamoah had a good game, at times a bit too busy, as Jose Callejon is very difficult to mark. He can squirm away at any moment.”

Any thoughts yet of the Champions League quarter-final with Barcelona?

“There are 10 days to go, it’s a long way off. Besides, it’s easy to prepare for Barcelona in terms of motivation. Barcelona fear us and we have great respect for them, that’s normal. We’ll do everything to get through to the semi-finals, but the important thing is being there.”