Juventus have just as much motivation as Monday’s rivals Napoli to win the Italian Supercoppa final, according to Bianconeri coach Massimiliano Allegri. The teams square off at Doha’s Jassim Bin Hamad stadium for the first title of the season. Napoli are 12 points behind Italian Serie A leaders Juve and the clash in Qatar may be their best opportunity for the Naples outfit to lift some silverware this campaign.
“It’s not true that Napoli are hungrier than we are,” Allegri told his club’s official website. Juve head into the encounter in Qatar in buoyant mood as the Turin giants are on course to win their fourth straight Scudetto.
Juve had drawn their last three games before winning 3-1 at Cagliari on Thursday and that result coupled with Roma’s goalless draw against AC Milan on Saturday has ensured the Bianconeri go into the Christmas break with a three-point advantage over Roma at the top of the Serie A standings. The Turin giants are the only Italian side alive in the UEFA Champions League and take on Borussia Dortmund in the last 16 of Europe’s elite club competition next year.
However, Allegri insists his team’s only focus is on clinching the club’s seventh Italian Supercoppa and their third in a row.
“We achieved our first aim of the season which was to qualify for the knockout round of the Champions League,” Allegri said. “I’m convinced that we can do well in Europe. But now we have in front of us our second objective of the campaign, to lift the Italian Supercoppa. The Supercup is an important achievement and we expect a difficult game because Napoli in a given game can be a dangerous opponent.”
Napoli, Coppa Italia winners, have won the title just once, in 1990, when they beat Juve in the final. The Azzurri endured a disappointing start to the campaign as they failed to qualify to the group stages of the Champions League after losing to Athletic Bilbao in the preliminary round. Rafa Benitez’s men made partial amends by reaching the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League where they will come up against Trabzonspor. The Naples outfit beat Parma 2-0 on Thursday to ensure at least to finish the year in the top six in the table.
“This Supercoppa has a huge value to us,” Napoli midfielder Dries Mertens said. “We know how much this game means to our fans and we want to beat Juve.”
Argentinian striker Gonzalo Higuain is expected to return to the starting XI after coming off the bench against Parma. Carlos Tevez, who is Serie A’s top scorer with ten goals so far, will lead Juve’s attack.