MILAN (Reuters) - Serie A leaders Juventus need to commit more fouls than they did in last week’s loss against title rivals Napoli, coach Massimiliano Allegri said on Friday, as his side prepared for a showdown against Inter Milan.
Allegri’s unusual comment came with Juventus still smarting from last Sunday’s shock 1-0 home defeat which cut their lead over Napoli to one point with four matches left to play and threw the title race wide open.
“Now is a time where we need to show every ounce of courage, freedom, enthusiasm and willpower. We must be ready for every ball and every tackle. The league is all to play for,” Allegri told reporters ahead of Saturday’s match at San Siro.
“On Sunday, we fouled our opponents eight times and suffered 18 fouls which is a negative figure for us. Tomorrow, we have to play the right way otherwise we won’t come out alive.”
Although Juventus have only lost three league games all season and are chasing a fourth successive double and seventh league title in a row, Allegri has faced criticism for an overcautious approach against Napoli.
As pressure mounted, there were unusual scenes on Wednesday when hundreds of fans descended on Juve’s training ground outside Turin.
Although fans said they wanted to lend support, video footage showed a group of them aggressively telling forward Paulo Dybala that the title this year was more important to them than in previous seasons.
“The supporters came here to make themselves feel closer to us and to support us in this moment,” said Allegri who added that he was enjoying the moment.
“This is really good, I don’t like it when things get monotonous,” he said.
“Tomorrow, we play a great game against Inter, the Derby d’Italia in a wonderful stadium against a team that has allowed only 23 goals and just two in the last nine games.”
He said that one result should not be allowed to cloud Juve’s achievements.
“A team that has won so many games and trophies cannot lose its way in a few days....but football’s like that. When you win, you’re better than everyone and when you don’t, you’re a loser.”
Writing by Brian Homewood in Bern; Editing by Toby Davis