Milan (AFP) – Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has warned against complacency when the Turin giants host ‘angry’ Napoli in the first leg of their Italian Cup semi-final on Tuesday.
Napoli’s hopes of staying in the title hunt were dented by a humiliating 2-0 home defeat to 10-man Atalanta on Saturday which left them 12 points off the top.
Although Juve’s last reverse at home was a league defeat in September 2015 and they recorded a 30th consecutive win in Turin with a 2-0 victory over Empoli on Saturday, Allegri expects Maurizio Sarri’s men to push them all the way.
“Now, our focus is on the Cup. We want to reach a third consecutive final and it won’t be easy because we’re up against a team that will still be angry after defeat on Saturday,” Allegri said Monday.
“Napoli haven’t suddenly become a bad side in the space of three days. Playing at home is crucial for us if we want to keep a clean sheet.”
Juventus, bidding for a third consecutive league and Cup double, boast a seven-point lead over Roma in Serie A after the Giallorossi humbled Inter Milan 3-1 at the San Siro on Sunday
As he did on Saturday, Allegri is set to rest Gianluigi Buffon and hand the goalkeeping gloves to Norberto Neto for the second consecutive game.
“Neto will play again tomorrow,” said Allegri. “He’s a great goalkeeper and has always stepped up to the plate for us when asked.
“The only reason he’s number two is because there’s Buffon ahead of him.”
League and Cup winners the past two seasons, Juventus remain in contention for the treble, having coasted past Porto 2-0 last week in their Champions League last 16 tie in Portugal.
And Allegri, who steered Juve to the 2015 final and a 3-1 defeat to Barcelona in his first season in charge, admitted he wouldn’t mind seeing his side play a few extra games at the end of the season.
“To fill out the fixtures calendar it would be nice to get to the final of every competition,” he added.
“As things stand we have 15 games to play, but hopefully we can extend the calendar because without football the week gets boring.”
Lazio host Roma in a Cup semi-final first leg on Wednesday.