Massimiliano Allegri says Juventus know they cannot afford to drop points in the Serie A title race due to the excellent form of rivals Napoli and Roma.
Juve defeated Sassuolo 1-0 on Friday thanks to a brilliant first-half strike from Paulo Dybala, putting them six points clear of Maurizio Sarri’s men and 11 ahead of Luciano Spalletti’s side, who both hold a game in hand.
Allegri has overseen an unbelievable run of league form, with 18 wins and one draw from the 19 matches since the champions last suffered defeat in the reverse fixture against Sassuolo back in October.
The head coach insists it is the momentum of Napoli and Roma, who have only lost seven league matches between them in 2015-16, which his driving his team to greater heights.
“I don’t think that Napoli or Roma will drop many points between now and the end of the season so that is what makes this a good result,” Allegri told Mediaset Premium.
“We really wanted to win. Before the game, I asked my boys to let me enjoy a nice Saturday and a beautiful Sunday as a gift and they gave me that.
“We had to work hard to pick up the win against a good Sassuolo side. At the end of the game, we put ourselves in a little bit of trouble but we did not want to concede as we knew three points would take us closer to the championship.
“We didn’t take our opportunities to make it 2-0, but I’m glad with what we managed to do. The attitude is great although we need to improve the performance.”
The victory was Juve’s 10th consecutive league clean sheet – a new Serie A record – and put Gianluigi Buffon four minutes away from breaking the individual mark for the longest spell without conceding.
Allegri hailed Buffon after the match and hopes he can reach the milestone in the derby at Torino on March 20.
He added: “I think Gigi deserves this record. It would cap a remarkable career, although of course he needs another four minutes in the derby.
“It would be wonderful if the game stopped for a round of applause, but it is the derby and we need to start playing first and then we will see what happens.”
Prior to the derby, Juve travel to Bayern Munich for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday.