Qatar Football AssociationNews
22.12.2014 2:59 in :

Doha: Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri yesterday said his players were fired up to clinch the first title of the season but the Italian giants won’t underestimate rivals Napoli in their Super Cup clash today.

The teams square off here today at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium for their first silverware of the season. The clash is a repeat of the contentious 2012 edition, which ended 4-2 for Juve in extra time.

“This is our last game of the year and our third target for the campaign after qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League and remaining top of the Serie A table,” Allegri said yesterday.

Allegri, who took over from coach Antonio Conte in the summer, has had a roller coaster ride this season at Juve.

The 47-year-old has guided the club three points clear at the top of Serie A heading into the winter break.

The former midfielder is not new to the Super Cup having steered AC Milan to victory in 2011 in the traditional season opener between the Serie A champions and the Italian Cup winners.

This year the event had to be moved to the middle of the season on account of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The Juve trainer warned that Napoli is ‘more difficult to face’ in a one-off game like the Super Cup.

“Napoli is a European team, an opponent that is more difficult to face in a one-off game than over the course of a season. They have individuals who can change a match by themselves,”

“Perhaps they don’t have the consistency and balance to challenge for the title all year round, but on their day they can cause trouble for anyone.”

Allegri said Napoli defence is not their forte but picked out Napoli’s Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain as the threat.

“The Partenopei defence does not look impeccable, but we need to play over 90 minutes and that’s a very different situation to a Serie A game,” said Allegri, who is aiming to win his first title with Juventus.

“Gonzalo Higuain has extraordinary quality, but fortunately I have Tevez, Morata, Llorente, Giovinco and Coman, so I’ll stick with my players.”

Allegri’s opposite number Rafa Benitez said Napoli were confident they can win the Super Cup.

“Juventus are ahead of us in the Serie A table, but the match is just a one-off match and we have confidence,” Benitez said.

“What matters is the hunger for victory and the right mentality. We’ve always done well against the big clubs and are convinced we can do it.

“In everyone’s heads and hearts, we are all expecting the victory. We know what the fans want from us. It is an important game and we are fully focused. We have the utmost respect for our opponents, but we know our own strength and want to win this.”

The former Chelsea coach said he has not decided on his final eleven yet.

“Who will start? Everyone deserves to play, so I will make my decision tomorrow.”

Benitez said his players were high on motivation ahead of the clash today.

“I don’t need to fire up the players too much as the occasion is motivation enough,” he said.

This will be the seventh time that the Super Cup to be played abroad.

It was held in Washington, DC, in 1993, in Tripoli, Libya in 2002, New Jersey in 2003 and Beijing on three occasions — 2009, 2011 and 2012.