November 27, 2017 / 9:59 AM / a year ago

Soccer: Allegri plays down importance of Napoli clash

Soccer Football - Champions League - Juventus vs FC Barcelona - Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy - November 22, 2017 Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

MILAN (Reuters) - Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has played down the importance of his team’s match away to arch-rivals and Serie A leaders Napoli on Friday. Juve, aiming for a seventh successive title, are third in Serie A and four points behind Napoli, however Allegri said that the odd point here or there did not matter at this stage of the season. “The target is to get to March, still be in touch with the leading group and be ready for the final sprint,” he said after Sunday’s 3-0 win over Crotone.

“We have played some excellent football, and Napoli have been extraordinary, but it’s a long season and it doesn’t really matter at this point whether you are a couple of points ahead or behind.”

Allegri pointed out that Juve’s own form had been impressive with 11 wins, one draw and two defeats in 14 Serie A games.

“It’s not as if we are 27 points off the lead, it’s just four points behind two teams who are unbeaten,” he said.

“We dropped points with Atalanta, where we just stopped playing after going 2-0 up, and we had a black-out and lost focus for eight minutes against Lazio.”

Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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