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Juventus coach Allegri downplays importance of duel with Napoli

Turin, Oct 28 (IANS) Juventus head coach Massimilano Allegri has played down the importance of his side's upcoming Serie A football game against title challengers Napoli on Saturday, saying that the match's result won't be decisive for the title race.

Top-placed and defending champions Juventus are four points ahead of last season's runners-up Napoli, who have accumulated 20 points from 10 matches.

"Being only the 11th game of the season, tomorrow night's result won't decide the fate of the Scudetto. So far this term, our meetings with title rivals have all come fairly early on but that's not to say they aren't important nonetheless," Allegri told Juventus' website.

"This time last year we were about to lose to Sassuolo and drop to 12th place in the table so relatively we are in a much better position now than we were before meeting Napoli 12 months ago.

What last season goes to show is that you need to be consistent over the course of 38 matches and ensure that you still have plenty in the tank come March when the truly crucial moments arrive thick and fast," he added.

"Maintaining momentum is important, as is landing a psychological blow on a side that pushed us all the way last time out, but the league title is decided in March and April, not October."

The game at the Juventus stadium will also see home striker Gonzalo Higuain facing his former club for the first time after the Argentine's controversial summer move to Turin for the transfer fee of 90 million euros ($98.9 million). But Allegri preferred to talk about his team's title ambition.

"It is natural that people will talk about Higuain before the game and indeed how he performs this season but what counts is that Juventus retain their trophies and go as far as they can in the Champions League," the former AC Milan coach pointed out.

--IANS

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