Juventus, Napoli intensify training ahead of Super Cup clash
Doha: Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is wary of a wounded Napoli SC ahead of the Italian Super Cup match at Al Sadd Stadium on Monday.
“Napoli may not be in the race to win the Serie A championship anymore, but they will aim to finish at least in the third position. They have a dangerous striking force which makes them a difficult team,” said the Juve coach during his first press conference in Doha.
The Turin based club reached Qatar on Thursday and had their first practice session at the state-of-the art sports facility of Aspire Academy yesterday.
“Winning the Super Cup is of utmost importance for us. The first goal this season was to win the qualification to the knockout stage of the Champions League, and it has been achieved. The second is to win the Super Cup,” added the former midfielder.
Allegri said former Manchester United and Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez is one of the important players in his scheme of things but did not wish to rate him on a scale to one to 10.
“I cannot rate him, I cannot do the rating. He is one of the best goal scorers at the moment,” said the 47-year-old trainer.
Allegri, who is in his first year as coach at Juventus, admitted that his team has struggled against top European teams in the Champions League but can still make it to the next stage of the championship.
“Do not forget that we have reached the knockout stage of the Champions League and we have all the abilities to go forward. But European games are difficult especially against Barcelona and Chelsea, who are far ahead of us. We can make it.”
Juventus beat Cagliari 3-1 away on Thursday to end a three-match winless streak and move four points clear at the top of Serie A, while Napoli won 2-0 at home to Parma to go third.
After drawing with Fiorentina and Sampdoria in Serie A either side of a 0-0 stalemate with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, Juventus took an early lead through Carlos Tevez after three minutes.
Arturo Vidal doubled the advantage 12 minutes later and Fernando Llorente added another five minutes after the break, before Luca Rossettini grabbed a consolation for Cagliari.
Juve are top with 39 points from 16 games, four ahead of second place AS Roma, who play at AC Milan today, with Napoli third on 27.
The Juve coach was happy the one-match ban imposed on him was lifted by Italian Football Federation (FIGC).
“There is no point gained in arguing and discussing the decision. It will be better if we get good results and score goals,” said Allegri in response to a question.
Juve were successful in their appeal to have the one-match touchline ban for coach Allegri lifted.
Allegri was punished by the Serie A after insulting officials during Juve’s 1-1 draw against Sampdoria last weekend.
Juve’s emergency appeal was partially accepted by the FIGC and Allegri took his place in Thursday’s league match at Cagliari.
A statement from the FIGC read: “The Sporting Court of Appeal has partially accepted the petition presented by Juventus, lifting the one-match touchline ban given to coach Massimiliano Allegri and instead handing the manager a 10,000 euros fine.”
Meanwhile, Rafael Benitez’s Napoli SC also arrived in Doha on Thursday evening. The Azzurri have come her with a 25 member squad including three players from the youth team: Luperto, Romano and Bifulco.
Napoli SC Squad Rafael, Andujar, Colombo, Rosati, Maggio, Mesto, Albiol, Britos, Koulibaly, Henrique, Ghoulam, Luperto, Romano, Radosevic, Jorginho, Inler, Gargano, David Lopez, De Guzman, Romano, Callejon, Mertens, Hamsik, Higuain, Duvan.
The referee for the match will be Valeri from Rome , while assistants will be Tonolini and Manganelli and fouurth man Giallatini and sideline assistant Banti-Calvarese.