Juve wary of chas­ing pack

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

TWO con­sec­u­tive wins and the great form of striker Mauro Icardi (pix) has placed In­ter Mi­lan among the chal­lengers to Ju­ven­tus as they chase a sixth straight Serie A ti­tle.

In­ter’s Ar­gen­tine cap­tain scored in Sun­day’s 2-1 de­feat of Juve and net­ted a brace to beat Em­poli 2-0 yes­ter­day for a tally of six goals.

The Ner­az­zurri now sit on 10 points along­side Roma and Chievo be­fore wel­com­ing Bologna on Sun­day. Juve, on 12 points from five games, travel to Palermo to­mor­row af­ter a 40 ham­mer­ing of Cagliari, which al­lowed them to re­gain top spot as Napoli drew 0-0 at Genoa.

“Gen­er­ally speak­ing, we’ve pro­duced a good re­ac­tion to some ex­ces­sive crit­i­cism af­ter Sun­day’s game,” Juve helms­man Mas­si­m­il­iano Al­le­gri said.

“That doesn’t sur­prise me though – this group is full of great play­ers and good men.

“When it’s time to take re­spon­si­bil­ity they never shy away. Now it’s im­por­tant for us to keep this up un­til the in­ter­na­tional break (in midOc­to­ber), per­form­ing well in the matches we have left against Palermo, (Dy­namo) Za­greb (in the Cham­pi­ons League) and Em­poli.”

Frank de Boer, who took over In­ter in Au­gust, praised the im­prove­ment of his squad af­ter a stut­ter­ing start to the sea­son.

“I’ve only been coach for a month and we un­der­stand each other bet­ter to­day than we did yes­ter­day,” de Boer said.

“How­ever, this is not a project that we can com­plete in the short term.

“We put a lot of en­ergy into tonight as well, but we know that things will get bet­ter only through play­ing more matches.”

Napoli were bit­ter af­ter their tran­sient stay at the top and com­plained about a cou­ple of penal­ties not awarded in Genoa.

“The team played well against op­po­nents who are very in­tense and phys­i­cal and who in cer­tain mo­ments of the sea­son are very tough to meet,” Napoli coach Mau­r­izio Sarri said.

“But we cre­ated many chances and in two or three oc­ca­sions were un­lucky.”

The Neapoli­tans, along with Juve, have Cham­pi­ons League duty in mid­week and play to­mor­row at home to Chievo, while Genoa, on seven points with a game in hand, wel­come pro­moted Pescara on Sun­day.

The Sun­day pro­gramme opens early with Roma’s visit to Torino and closes late in Florence with Fiorentina tak­ing on AC Mi­lan.

Lazio vs Em­poli and Sas­suolo vs Udi­nese com­plete the af­ter­noon ac­tion, with Cro­tone vs Ata­lanta and Cagliari vs Sam­p­do­ria set for Mon­day. – dpa

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