Massimiliano Allegri claims the pressure will be on Napoli in their showdown with his Serie A leaders Juventus in Turin on Sunday.
The Partenopei take on the title-holders at Allianz Stadium seeking to narrow the four-point gap between second and first place, with four further matches to come in the league after this round.
Addressing a news conference, Allegri pointed out the fact that Juve have a greater margin for error, and can also deal a major blow to the hopes of Maurizio Sarri’s team if they come out on top this weekend.
“We’re in better psychological shape than Napoli. It’s very simple, tomorrow a mini-league begins of five games, we have a four-point advantage,” he said.
“There are other points available to win the title. It’ll certainly be important for Serie A, but it won’t be decisive.
“We must play with cool heads, because it is far more decisive for Napoli than it is for us.”
Allegri dismissed rumours suggesting forward Paulo Dybala is struggling with injury and could be left out of the crunch fixture.
“Dybala is in good shape, I don’t understand why he shouldn’t be,” the coach said.
And the former AC Milan boss is also backing striker Gonzalo Higuain, who has not scored since a 2-0 win over Atalanta on March 14, to make an impact.
“Gonzalo Higuain has these peaks and troughs over a season,” Allegri said. “He’s in great shape and I think tomorrow he will be decisive.”
@OfficialAllegri: “I believe that @G_Higuain will be a decisive player tomorrow.”#JuveNapolipic.twitter.com/OnrcTdAaRK
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) April 21, 2018
Napoli’s status as the only legitimate challengers to Juve’s crown, and their attractive style of play, has seen the work done at Stadio San Paolo flatteringly described as ‘Sarrismo’, in honour of the coach.
Allegri, though, does not feel that renders his own achievements at Juve unappreciated.
“I am not jealous that there’s nobody talking about Allegrismo,” he said. “I am glad that after so many years of hard work, Sarri has reached the level he deserves.
“Sarri is making Napoli play well and getting the best out of the characteristics of his players. At the end of the day, all coaches have one objective: to win. The strategy and the way of getting there is not the same.
“If I usually find two open doors and one day they are closed, I have to find another strategy.”
According to Allegri, Stefano Sturaro and Mattia De Sciglio are the only Juve players unavailable for the contest, due to tendon and foot problems respectively.