Spalletti says Juve cannot hide from being Scudetto favourites: 'It's pointless wearing a hat and fake beard'

By Sports Desk January 12, 2023

Luciano Spalletti responded to Massimiliano Allegri's claims that Napoli are Scudetto favourites by insisting the pressure is on second-place Juventus ahead of Friday's contest.

Juve are on a remarkable run of eight straight Serie A wins without conceding – their best such run since March 2018 – heading into the game at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Napoli remain seven points clear of their opponents, however, having lost just once all season – a 1-0 defeat to Inter last week that they responded to with victory over Sampdoria.

Allegri has constantly stressed finishing in the top four is Juve's main objective for the season and said on Thursday that the title is still Napoli's to lose.

However, Spalletti does not believe that is the case and joked it is impossible for Allegri to disguise the fact his side have more to lose than Napoli.

"I understand that for Allegri it is convenient to play as supporting actor," Spalletti said at his pre-match press conference. 

"But for a Juve side that is always stuffed with champions it is impossible to hide from the role of favourites.

"Certain investments pay off only by playing for the Scudetto and winning the Champions League. It's useless putting on a hat or a fake beard. Fourth place doesn't satisfy Juve."

 

Spalletti is one win shy of equalling Carlo Ancelotti (275) for the most victories in Serie A since the 1983-84 season, with Allegri just behind on 273.

Napoli boast the best attack in the Italian top flight, with 39 goals in 17 matches, but they come up against the strongest defence as Juve have shipped only seven goals all term.

Asked if it will be a case of style over substance in the top-of-the-table clash, Spalletti said: "Sometimes you leave a mark more with the visible than what you bring home.

"We will do what we like and what the fans like. We had [Maurizio] Sarri here before, who won nothing but people talk only about his football and his values.

"There was also [Rafael] Benitez, who won a couple of titles and was well-spoken of but didn't impress in the same way as Sarri, so you have to be careful.

"Juventus are good at dropping down in front of the penalty area. Then there's the will of the football you want to play and the skills you think your players have.

"Then you consider whether you can like it as a spectacle beyond the wins."

Napoli are unbeaten in their past two Serie A games against Juve (W1 D1), though not since 2011 under Walter Mazzarri have they gone on a longer unbeaten run in this fixture.

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