Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri has emphasised the need for calm and focus as the Old Lady look to end their winless run this weekend.

Having been held 1-1 by Empoli while down to 10 men and then beaten 1-0 by Serie A leaders Inter Milan and Udinese, Juve went a fourth successive game without victory last Saturday with a 2-2 draw at Hellas Verona.

Allegri’s side are second in the table, nine points adrift of Inter having played a game more, ahead of Sunday’s game at home to Frosinone.

Allegri told a press conference: “We have worked well, as always, and tomorrow we have only one goal – to return to winning ways.

“Periods like these in football happen, I’ve been through them before and the boys know it too. We have to stay calm and focused and think about the months ahead, with two big goals to achieve – qualification for the Champions League and trying to win the Coppa Italia.

“There are some matches, like last Saturday’s in Verona, where we struggle. It is precisely in these kinds of matches that we have to maintain greater compactness and great concentration.

“If I think back to our last performances, with Inter and Udinese I saw good things, with Verona less so. However, I am convinced that this period will do us good.”

Since Allegri returned to Juventus in 2021 for a second spell in charge, he has overseen the team finishing fourth and then seventh.

He previously had five years in the job from 2014 to 2019, which saw Juve crowned league champions in all five campaigns, part of a sequence of nine consecutive titles for the club.

Allegri added: “Winning at Juve is something that is always demanded and criticism is the order of the day – if you win 3-2 you have conceded too many goals, if you win 1-0 you have scored too few.

“But if I analyse our history, I see that Juve has gone through only two cycles of great and consecutive victories, winning five Scudetti in the 1930s and nine in the last period.

“This means that winning is not something normal and taken for granted. We have the goal of getting back to winning ways and for this the club has started a path and a project that is going forward, also aiming to grow our own players.

“For this, qualifying for the Champions League is fundamental, as it is a competition that we have not missed since 2011, which is also something that cannot be taken for granted.”

Frosinone, Serie B champions last term, are three points above the relegation zone with 23 from 25 games.

Boss Eusebio Di Francesco said at his pre-match press conference: “We deserved the points we got, we probably also demonstrated something more.

“And we have to go and get those points back. Starting from the next one and not being a sacrificial victim of a team like Juventus because we go to play with them. Knowing that sooner or later something has to come back to us.”

Massimiliano Allegri challenged his Juventus side to pay “attention to detail” when they travel to Verona for Saturday’s Serie A clash.

Juve sit seven points behind league leaders Inter Milan, who have a game in hand, and are in search of their first win in four attempts following losses to Udinese and the table-toppers, which came after a 1-1 draw with Empoli that saw Arkadiusz Milik sent off in the 18th minute.

Verona sit third-from-bottom with four wins in 24 matches but, with just six points separating 19th-placed Cagliari from Lecce in 13th, will be desperate to gain any advantage on fellow relegation-threatened clubs.

Allegri told a press conference: “We’ve earned a point in two games at home and that’s not good, tomorrow will be a complicated away match, Verona are in a difficult situation but are doing well. We need to work on our attitude not only in terms of performance, but above all in terms of attention to detail.

“Our performances have not been worse, even on a numerical level, but we must analyse everything, beyond the result. Against Udinese, we made a mistake on an inactive ball and we were punished, this is football. Details are important.

“We have to learn what didn’t go well over the last few games. The performances were good and we have to start from there. The management will then work to strengthen the team for next year, because we hope to play many more matches.”

Allegri revealed he will have “everyone available” for the trip to Verona and, while forward Federico Chiesa has been linked to a summer transfer to the Premier League, emphasised that the 26-year-old will be “very important to us for the rest of the season.”

Juventus have not won a trophy since lifting the Coppa Italia in 2021, but the boss was confident his  side are on the right trajectory, remaining one point clear of third-placed AC Milan and with an 11-point advantage over Atalanta in the fourth Champions League place.

They also remain alive in the Coppa Italia and will host Lazio in the first leg of their semi-final on April 2.

Allegri added: “It’s true that we haven’t won a trophy for some time, but we have an Italian Cup that we can try to win and we have a path that we have started. Furthermore, never having been out of the Champions League for 11 years in a row is important when rebuilding.

“The most important thing for us now is to get a result tomorrow and then we have to achieve our main objective, which is Champions League qualification. We have three beautiful months ahead to look forward to, with passion and the desire to achieve results.”

Lautaro Giannetti dealt Juventus’ Serie A title hopes a potentially fatal blow as he grabbed the only goal of the game to earn a stunning 1-0 win for struggling Udinese.

The visitors made the most of a sluggish performance from Massimiliano Allegri’s men, who still trail leaders Inter Milan by seven points having played a game more.

Arkadiusz Milik was guilty of wasting most of the home side’s good chances as Udinese held firm for only their second win in 13 Serie A games which moves them three points clear of the relegation zone.

Looking to bounce back from last week’s loss to Inter, Juventus looked unlikely to be duly troubled in a strong start which saw Andrea Cambiaso and Federico Chiesa come close.

Udinese goalkeeper Maduka Okoye was busy early on, saving well from Milik’s close-range header then denying Federico Gatti who should have done better from the edge of the box.

The visitors grabbed the lead against the run of play in the 25th minute when Giannetti bundled home the loose ball after a free-kick was flicked on by Thomas Kristensen deep into the home box.

Milik failed to reach a cross-shot from Cambiaso that caused panic in the Udinese box and it was clear the home side were once again missing striker Dusan Vlahovic, who was ruled out with a groin strain.

Milik headed straight at Okoye and it could have got worse for Juventus on the stroke of half-time when Sandi Lovric fired a speculative effort over from just outside the box.

Allegri’s men hardly improved after the break as they huffed forward for little reward, although they did briefly think they had levelled on the hour mark.

A corner was headed back for Milik to nod home but celebrations were cut short as the referee ruled the ball had drifted out of play in the course of the initial set-piece.

Chiesa rammed a 72nd-minute effort over the bar while Kenan Yildiz was inches from connecting with Cambiaso’s left-wing cross in front of goal as Udinese managed to hold on for a famous win.

Juventus have signed Southampton midfielder Carlos Alcaraz on loan for the rest of the season with an option to buy.

The 21-year-old Argentinian has scored four goals in 26 appearances for Saints this season, with Russell Martin’s side third in the Championship as they seek an immediate return to the Premier League.

Southampton director of football Jason Wilcox told the club website: “Allowing Charly to leave on loan was a decision that we have been deliberating on for some time.

“Considering the midfield options we have available to us right now, and Charly’s lack of game time, we wanted to allow him this chance to gain some valuable experience in one of the top leagues in Europe.

“Juventus are a huge club and we are convinced that this move will allow Charly the opportunity to flourish and then come back and be a success at Southampton.”

Massimiliano Allegri’s side sit second in Serie A, one point behind leaders Inter having played a game more.

Massimiliano Allegri will not allow his Juventus players to be distracted from their mission of qualifying for the Champions League after a year out of Europe.

A seventh-placed finish last season, thanks in part to a 10-point deduction for capital gain violations, meant the Bianconeri were not even able to compete in the Europa Conference League this term, leaving their midweeks largely free.

That has not translated into a waltz to the Serie A title, however, with leaders Inter Milan still two points out in front despite Juve winning 12 of their last 15 matches and remaining unbeaten in the league since September.

Head coach Allegri remains wary that any complacency creeping in could allow rivals like AC Milan and Fiorentina to overtake them, and he stressed that Sunday’s match at mid-table Lecce represents an excellent opportunity for his side to demonstrate how much they have improved.

He told reporters: “Playing at Lecce is difficult, they played well against Inter and Lazio, defending really well, and they’ve got good results from their last four home matches.

“We have to focus solely on getting a positive result. The main objective is to not concede – that’s happened to us in our last four away games.

“We’re still missing lots of points in our mission to qualify for the Champions League. That’s what we are chasing, that is our goal.

“We can see that Inter are doing great things, they’ve collected 51 points already and are favourites for the Scudetto. We’re improving, but we know that winning at Lecce will be complicated. Celebrating a win is always easy but you’ve got to play the game first.

“Some horses need to wear blinkers and some don’t. Those who need to wear them worry about looking at others but blinkers help you focus on what is in front of us. We haven’t achieved anything so far – we’re only halfway there.”

Federico Chiesa and Adrien Rabiot are ruled out of the game at Stadio Via del mare, with breakthrough wing-back Andrea Cambiaso unlikely to feature.

“The squad is in good shape, we’re training in the right way,” said Allegri. “We won’t have Rabiot or Chiesa tomorrow: the former has a calf problem while Federico has suffered a recurrence of his knee issue and will be assessed in the next few days.

“Cambiaso has come on a lot and I’m happy, he’s great technically and is becoming an important player for us.”

Lecce have three players absent due to the Africa Cup of Nations: Zambian striker Lameck Banda, Tunisia’s Hamza Rafia and Ahmed Touba of Algeria. Albanian defender Kastriot Dermaku faces a late fitness check.

The Apulian club are 13th but starting to look over their shoulders after losing three of their last four games and scoring only once in that period.

Juventus stayed on course for a record-extending 15th Coppa Italia title with a thumping 6-1 win against Serie A strugglers Salernitana in Turin.

The Allianz Stadium fell into stunned silence in the opening minute when Chukwubuikem Ikwuemesi gave the visitors a shock lead.

But Juve hit back through Fabio Miretti and Andrea Cambiaso before the break and ran riot in the second half.

Daniele Rugani, Dylan Bronn’s own goal, Kenan Yildiz and Timothy Weah all added to the scoring and Massimiliano Allegri’s side will now face Frosinone in the quarter-finals.

Salernitana head coach and former Juve striker Filippo Inzaghi’s side made a dream start against his former club as Ikwuemesi struck the opening goal in the first minute.

The Nigerian striker pounced on an error in the penalty area by defender Federico Gatti and buried a low finish into the bottom corner.

Juve goalkeeper Mattia Perin then denied Salernitana a second as he made a flying save to keep out Junior Sambia’s shot from outside the box, which was destined for the top corner.

But the Bianconeri, showing seven changes from last week’s home Serie A win against Roma, rode the early storm and hauled themselves level in the 12th minute.

Cambiaso’s headed pass inside the area picked out Miretti, who converted with a low, left-footed effort.

Juve were awarded a penalty in the 18th minute by referee Davide Ghersini, only for VAR to rule Sambia had fouled Gatti outside the box and a free-kick was awarded instead.

Federico Chiesa and Rugani were both thwarted by Salernitana goalkeeper Vincenzo Fiorillo as Juve built up a head of steam and after going close again through Chiesa and Adrien Rabiot’s header, the home side took the lead.

Danilo reacted quickest on the edge of the six-yard box following a 35th-minute corner and teed up Cambiaso, who slotted home from close range.

Juve looked to extend their lead before the break, with Arkadiusz Milik’s thunderbolt and Miretti both forcing Fiorillo into further saves.

Salernitana’s task looked beyond them in the 54th minute when Rugani turned home a rebound after Milik’s header from a corner had been saved.

Juve made it 4-1 with 15 minutes remaining when substitute Kenan Yildiz’s shot was deflected in off Tunisia defender Bronn.

Yildiz added Juve’s fifth in the 88th minute with a superb solo effort and Weah lashed home a low shot from outside the box to complete the scoring in the first minute of added time.

Massimiliano Allegri is determined to lead Juventus to another Coppa Italia success.

Juve, the competition’s most successful side with 14 titles, are favourites to lift the trophy after holders Inter Milan and Serie A champions Napoli were both knocked out.

Standing in Juve’s way of a quarter-final tie against Frosinone is Serie A’s bottom club Salernitana, who travel to Turin on Thursday.

And Allegri, who has been in charge for four of the club’s cup successes, is aware of the opportunity that awaits a team who have not lifted any silverware since 2021.

He said: “The Coppa Italia means a lot to us, as it always has.

“That applies even more so this season as we’re only competing in this competition and in the league, so we must do everything possible to get to face Frosinone in the quarter-finals.

“Anything can happen in a knockout tie, as we saw with Napoli and Inter getting knocked out. The early stages of the Coppa Italia may not interest everyone, but there’s a trophy at stake.

“Losing or drawing a game at this club can almost be a catastrophe, which is exactly why we have to give our all to progress. That’s what’s great about being at Juve.”

Thursday’s opponents Salernitana have won just two of their 18 league matches this season.

The teams will meet twice in the space of four days, as they face off again in the league on Sunday, but Allegri has all eyes on the cup fixture.

He added: “Tomorrow we’re facing a team on the up. Salernitana beat Verona away from home (on Saturday) and are well drilled, so we mustn’t underestimate them.

“We’ll face them once again on Sunday, but right now we’re focused on the cup. When the tie is over, we’ll turn our attention towards the league.

“It’s always tough to win matches. The further ahead you go, the smaller the margin for error, so we need to be good in that regard.”

Allegri confirmed trio Mattia Perin, Daniele Rugani and Federico Chiesa will all start for the cup clash but is undecided about the rest of his selection.

He said: “I still need to assess the rest. (Kenan) Yildiz won’t play tomorrow. When a young player is doing well, they get highly praised straight away. He needs to stay calm and keep working hard.

“I’ll certainly send the best possible team out there tomorrow. The stadium will be packed out, so even more reason for us to want to win.”

Juventus moved to within two points of Serie A leaders Inter Milan thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Roma.

Adrien Rabiot scored the only goal of the game early in the second half as Massimiliano Allegri’s side took advantage of Inter’s draw at Genoa on Friday to close the gap on their title rivals.

The win maintained Juve’s unbeaten record at home in Serie A this season as they bid to win the Scudetto for the first time since 2020, while the defeat leaves Roma seventh in the table and 17 points off the top.

Jose Mourinho’s side came into the game buoyed by last week’s 2-0 home win against defending champions Napoli and were also boosted by the return of Paulo Dybala, who had missed the last three games due to a thigh injury.

They duly made a bright start at the Allianz Stadium and were unlucky not to take the lead inside four minutes, Bryan Cristante’s well-struck shot taking a deflection off Dusan Vlahovic and slamming into a post as goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny could only look on.

Vlahovic was also quickly into the action at the other end, curling a left-footed shot wide and slashing another effort with his other foot off target in quick succession.

Romelu Lukaku was similarly inaccurate for the visitors before Vlahovic finally got an effort on target after turning Diego Llorente on the edge of the area, only to see his shot superbly blocked by Gianluca Mancini.

Vlahovic looked determined to break the deadlock and even attempted a spectacular bicycle kick from outside the area which flew comfortably wide, before Kenan Yildiz produced a more threatening effort after being set free on the counter by Manuel Locatelli.

Dybala went closer still at the other end with an instinctive shot with the outside of his left foot which was inches wide, but an entertaining first half ended goalless thanks to a brilliant intervention from Roma defender Evan Ndicka.

Filip Kostic’s left-foot volley was struck into the ground and beyond goalkeeper Rui Patricio after Roma failed to deal with a long throw into the box, but Ndicka read the situation and cleared the danger with a perfectly-timed diving header.

The deadlock was finally broken within two minutes of the restart, Vlahovic cleverly flicking the ball into the path of Rabiot to allow the France international to beat the advancing Patricio at his near post.

Dybala remained Roma’s best hope of an equaliser and produced a shot on target from just outside the area midway through the second half, but Szczesny was able to make a comfortable save.

Weston McKennie then should have doubled Juve’s lead when he was found six yards out by substitute Federico Chiesa on a swift counter-attack, only for the United States international to shoot straight at Patricio.

Chiesa also had a goal ruled out for offside, but the home side saw out six minutes of added time without too much difficulty to secure all three points.

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri said it gives him “great pride” to be compared with the likes of Roma counterpart Jose Mourinho.

The pair will lock horns on Saturday evening when Roma visit the Allianz Arena as Juve bid to keep the pressure on Serie A leaders Inter Milan in the title race.

Allegri told a press conference: “It always gives me great pleasure when I’m compared to the ‘old school’ coaches, together with Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti.

“Personally I believe there are a thousand variables in football, there is no absolute truth.

“Ancelotti is an extraordinary coach, who continues to win and is still doing a wonderful job.

“For Mourinho, the results speak for themselves. He has always achieved them. You may not even like him, but the rest matters little.

“Being compared to them is a source of great pride. The first time I faced Jose I was coaching Cagliari, I was still a ‘child’ and he was already a winning coach with Inter.”

Juve head into the year’s final round of Serie A fixtures in second place, four points behind Inter, who play at Genoa on Friday night.

Allegri added: “Roma are a ‘grumpy’ side at the moment, but have one of the best coaches ever on their bench.

“They are good at getting you out of the game and have quality in attack. Great attention is needed as well as patience and compactness, and we must not think of overdoing it.”

Allegri confirmed Alex Sandro (thigh) is “about 10 days” from a return to action, while Mattia De Sciglio and Moise Kean remain long-term absentees.

Roma, currently sixth in the table, 12 points behind Juve, will be buoyed by last week’s 2-0 home win against defending champions Napoli.

Mourinho’s side could also be boosted by the return of Paulo Dybala, who has missed the last three games due to a thigh injury.

Gianluca Mancini will “certainly play” on Saturday as he deals with an on-going groin issue, Mourinho said.

Juve are bidding for their first Serie A title in four years and when asked about their progress under Allegri, Mourinho told a press conference: “Juve are Juve and Allegri is still Allegri.

“We always know what to expect from the team and what to expect from Max.

“When we speak about risultatista (results-oriented) teams or coaches, it’s a strange term.

“I consider getting results to be the most important thing in football. Some people nowadays think it has a negative connotation. When people speak about a risultatista, all the connotations for me are positive.

“Juventus are just that. They defend in numbers and they defend well and when they go on the counter-attack they’re so strong. “

Juventus missed the chance to move into top spot in the Serie A table as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Genoa.

Juve’s only dropped points in their previous eight games had come in a draw against leaders Inter, and a win would have left their rivals playing catch-up in Sunday’s clash with Lazio.

Federico Chiesa put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot in the 28th minute at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, but Albert Gudmundsson levelled three minutes after half-time and Juve could not find a winner.

Massimiliano Allegri was without Adrien Rabiot, who joined Mattia De Sciglio and Moise Kean on the sidelines because of a minor foot problem, while Paul Pogba and Nicolo Fagioli were both suspended.

Genoa’s options in the attacking areas, meanwhile, were limited by the unavailability of Kevin Strootman and Mateo Retegui.

The hosts had the first shot in the sixth minute through Ruslan Malinovskyi, but it was from a long way out and was comfortably saved by Wojciech Szczesny.

Chiesa looked the man most likely at the other end and he tried to catch out Josep Martinez in the home goal with a fierce shot from the tightest of angles that was pushed behind.

Chiesa then turned creator in the 22nd minute with a brilliant cross to the edge of the six-yard box, where Dusan Vlahovic met the ball but could not keep his effort down.

Six minutes later the visitors took the lead, with Vlahovic seizing on a heavy touch in defence to play in Chiesa, who had his legs taken out by Martinez.

The striker picked himself up and confidently found the bottom corner from the penalty spot for his first goal in Serie A since September.

Genoa tried to hit back, but the closest they came before the break was a Johan Vasquez effort from a corner that flew just over the crossbar.

Alberto Gilardino sent on Caleb Ekuban for the second half in place of Vasquez and within three minutes he had created the equaliser, chesting the ball down and then heading it on for Gudmundsson to fire into the net on the stretch.

Martinez made amends for his own mistake three minutes later, this time timing his challenge on Chiesa perfectly after he had given the ball straight to the Juventus forward.

He then pushed away an Andrea Cambiaso cross that just evaded the onrushing Vlahovic.

But Martinez saved his best for last, reacting very smartly to push the ball over the bar after a corner hit Gleison Bremer on the hip and securing an impressive point for Genoa.

Giorgio Chiellini is delighted to see Juventus challenging at the Serie A summit again, but he struggles to see the Bianconeri winning the Scudetto this term.

Chiellini won nine Serie A titles during his distinguished spell with Juve, which came to an end at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season as he left for Los Angeles FC in MLS.

In their first season after the defender's departure, Juve finished seventh in Serie A, hampered by a 10-point deduction that was handed down following an investigation into the club's finances. 

However, Massimiliano Allegri has overseen a revival of their fortunes this campaign, with the Bianconeri sitting two points behind Inter at the top of Serie A after 15 games.

A 1-0 win over Napoli briefly took Juventus top on Friday, only for Inter to recapture the lead by thrashing Udinese 4-0.

While Chiellini has been impressed by his former club's resurgence, he believes toppling the Nerazzurri is a tough ask.

"It will be hard," he told Stats Perform.

"If they can be as consistent as Inter, if they arrive in that situation in March, I think it could be a possibility, but it's hard following a team for many months in a row. 

"We'll see, we'll see. I'm very happy obviously that they are having a good season and I hope they can finish first and win the title. 

"I think the key is the consistency of Inter, who are by far the favourites for the league." 

Juventus' off-pitch problems have refused to go away this term, though, with midfielder Paul Pogba suspended by the club after testing positive for heightened levels of testosterone following a win over Udinese in August.

Pogba's B sample also returned a positive test result, and he could face a ban of between two and four years if found guilty of doping.

Chiellini was a team-mate of Pogba's during the Frenchman's first spell in Turin between 2012 and 2016, and he says the midfielder's current situation is sad to see.

Asked how he responded to Pogba's positive test, Chiellini said: "I just text him because I knew him as a kid, from when he was 19. I love him as a good guy and I'm very sad for the situation. 

"I don't know other things, just what is public, because I cannot ask him; 'What happened? Did you do this?' It's something very bad. 

"I just ask people to be close to him and give support to him. I'm very sad and I don't know how to finish this type of situation. Everyone who has known Paul in his life will be very sad about what's happening."

Juventus moved top of Serie A, for 24 hours at least, with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over reigning champions Napoli.

Federico Gatti headed the only goal of the game early in the second half to take his side a point above Inter Milan, who face Udinese at San Siro on Saturday evening.

Manager Massimiliano Allegri had challenged his players to rectify the club’s wretched recent results against Napoli, Juve having lost five of their last seven league meetings including a 5-1 thrashing in January.

And the Bianconeri boss got what he wanted after the home side weathered an early storm at the Allianz Stadium to record their 11th win of the season.

Napoli started brightly and were inches away from taking the lead in the ninth minute, Matteo Politano’s curling shot leaving Wojciech Szczesny flat-footed but agonisingly grazing the outside of the post.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia then failed to even hit the woodwork as he wasted a glorious chance shortly before the half-hour mark.

Victor Osimhen superbly controlled a long clearance on his chest and drew both Juventus central defenders out of position before squaring the ball to Kvaratskhelia, who took a slightly heavy touch before blazing his shot over the bar as Szczesny dived at his feet.

Szczesny was in the thick of the action again 10 minutes later as he produced a stunning reflex save from Giovanni Di Lorenzo, who had been gifted a clear sight of goal after Bremer inadvertently headed the ball off team-mate Gatti.

The flag did go up for offside as Juve struggled to clear their lines, but that took nothing away from the brilliance of the former Arsenal goalkeeper as the sides headed into the interval on level terms.

Parity lasted just five minutes of the second period, Andrea Cambiaso providing a perfect cross from the right for Gatti to head home from just five yards out.

Szczesny looked to have undone all his good work in the 71st minute when he hit a careless clearance straight to substitute Eljif Elmas, who headed the ball straight to Osimhen to fire home, only for Osimhen to be correctly ruled offside.

Napoli piled on the pressure in the final minutes as Juventus defended deep, but Giacomo Raspadori’s low shot was comfortably saved by Szczesny at the foot of the post.

Walter Mazzarri has now won just one of his first four games in charge since returning to Napoli for a second spell, a run of results which leaves his side fifth in the table and 12 points behind Juve.

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has challenged his players to rectify the club’s wretched recent results against rivals Napoli to move top of the Serie A table.

Juve have lost five of their past seven league meetings with the reigning champions, including a 5-1 thrashing in January, but are favourites for Friday evening’s clash at Allianz Stadium.

The in-form Bianconeri sit second in the table and will climb above leaders Inter Milan for at least 24 hours by registering an 11th victory of the season.

Fifth-placed Napoli are struggling to mount a title defence and, having last month reappointed former boss Walter Mazzarri after sacking Rudi Garcia, slipped 11 points adrift of Inter following a 3-0 home loss to them on Sunday.

“Tomorrow will be very tough,” Allegri told a press conference.

“Napoli stayed in the game against Inter until the second goal and we’ve only beaten them once in our last seven meetings – that’s something we need to put right.

“They’re a dangerous side away from home and have picked up 17 points on the road already.”

Juventus are just two points behind Inter, with whom they drew 1-1 on November 26, following a nine-match unbeaten run.

Allegri wants a minimum of six points from Juve’s next five fixtures to ensure the club reach the halfway point of the campaign in a stronger position than last term.

“This is a six-pointer – we have five games left before we reach the midway point of the season and they’ll all be difficult,” said Allegri, whose side finished a disappointing 2022-23 campaign in seventh position.

“Our target is to finish the first half of the campaign with more points than we did last term, when we had 38.

“We hope to achieve our target but we mustn’t take it for granted.

“Part of this job involves dealing with the pressure but we have to remember the league doesn’t finish tomorrow. There’s still a long way to go.”

Mazzarri, who initially managed Napoli between 2009 and 2013, beat Atalanta 2-1 in the first match of his second spell before the resounding loss to Inter.

The 62-year-old hopes his team can kick-start a revival by beating one of their fiercest rivals.

“Juventus v Napoli is a match that we know well because of the special sensations it generates and the importance of two teams that have been protagonists of the championship in recent years,” he told a press conference.

“We are playing against an opponent who is doing very well and there is little to add about the depth of the match.

“We go there as Italian champions and we want to highlight the progress that the boys are making.

“If we look at the squads, I don’t think there is as much of a difference as the league table says. This is also true compared to Inter.

“Unfortunately in football there are also moments and this is not a brilliant period for Napoli, especially in relation to the great last season.

“In football sometimes it doesn’t take much to make a change, it’s a question of trust but also of luck.

“There are moments which are going badly but a positive episode can change the wind.”

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri has suggested Sunday’s table-topping clash with Inter Milan is not the time for change.

Inter go into the latest instalment of the derby d’Italia with a two-point advantage at the top of the Serie A table.

A sixth success in a row for Juventus would take them to the summit and Allegri has hinted he would not be making radical changes to his winning side.

The 56-year-old told a press conference: “We’re approaching the game as best we can and we’ve prepared well for it.

“It’s a big test for us and it can help us improve as a team. We’re up against the league leaders and the title favourites.

“We have lots of midfield options and I don’t think switching formation is a good idea. All our forwards are in good shape. They have to make a decisive contribution.”

Juventus conceded their first goal since September in the 2-1 home win over Cagliari last time out and Allegri continued: “It will come down to small margins tomorrow and it should be an excellent test for us. The lads are all ready to play.

“It’s sure to be a great football spectacle with a full stadium – but the season doesn’t end tomorrow.

“It’s been a long time since we were playing for top spot. We must show our desire to win it. I’m confident the lads will perform well.

“We’re approaching the game as best we can and we’ve prepared well for it. It’s a big test for us and it can help us improve as a team. We’re up against the league leaders and the title favourites.

“I have a solid, close-knit group of players who are ready to produce a big performance in what will be a fantastic match for Italian football. We must keep working away and maintain our hunger.

“Football is full of surprises and you have to deal with them calmly.”

On their opponents, he added: “(Simone) Inzaghi and Inter are doing really well. They give little away and if they take the lead, it’s difficult to get back in the game.”

Inter have a 100 per cent away record and are chasing a seventh-successive victory in all competitions.

Boss Inzaghi told his team’s pre-match press conference: “It will be a challenging game, with maximum concentration required.”

Benjamin Pavard is again ruled out for the visitors with the knee injury sustained in the win at Atalanta three weeks ago, while fellow defender Alessandro Bastoni joins him on the sidelines because of a calf issue sustained on international duty with Italy.

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri is happy for Juventus to continue their progress under the radar.

The Turin club are firmly in the Serie A title hunt after a strong start to the season as they bid to make a return to European qualification, having been excluded from this year’s Europa Conference League over breaches of UEFA’s financial fair play rules.

Juventus travel to Fiorentina on Sunday night bidding for a fourth straight win and Allegri is pleased with their progress.

“We must work on our weaknesses and become rock solid,” Allegri told his pre-match press conference.

“We’re on the right track but we’ve only played 10 games and that’s not enough to achieve our goal of qualifying for next year’s Champions League.

“As I said, the important thing is working hard to grow and improve to become a rock-solid team. We need to be more precise and efficient in front of goal as well as improving our defence because things can go wrong very quickly in football.

“It takes balance. We have to remain solid throughout the season because we’ve got a goal to achieve.

“Low profile, less talk and more graft.”

After an impressive start to the campaign, Fiorentina’s form has tailed off a touch having lost their last two matches without scoring.

But Allegri is wary of the threat posed by the hosts, with Nicolas Gonzalez a particular challenge to Juventus having scored five goals in nine matches.

“It’s a big game tomorrow because there’s always been great rivalry between Juve and Fiorentina,” Allegri added.

“They’re an excellent side even though they’re coming in off the back of two league defeats. They like to attack and play good football.

“We’re going to need a big performance if we want to come away with a good result. I consider Fiorentina one of the best-equipped teams of the season because they have lots of great players both technically and physically.

“They will be fighting for a place in the top four. This year Fiorentina have got a great squad.

“They have a striker like Nico Gonzalez, two centre-forwards with Christian Kouame on the left and Giacomo Bonaventura who’s doing big things. Arthur has also recovered from injury and is doing well.”

Former Everton striker Moise Kean has yet to score this season in nine appearances for Juventus and Italy but Allegri praised the 23-year-old’s growth and told all his attackers that they need to contribute.

“Kean is in a great place. He’s grown both physically and technically and his mentality has improved no end. I’m happy with him but he must keep improving,” Allegri added.

“All five of our forwards are in good form. (Federico) Chiesa and (Dusan) Vlahovic know they need to contribute to the good of the team, just like the rest of the group because everyone is important.”

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