Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio has urged his team-mates to be wary of second-placed Fiorentina on Sunday as the champions seek to extend their winning run in Serie A to six matches.
Following a difficult start to their Scudetto defence, Juve have picked up of late and climbed to fifth following last Friday’s victory over Lazio.
Ahead of Fiorentina’s trip to Turin – the visitors seeking to make it seven Serie A games unbeaten – third-placed Napoli take on Roma in fourth, meaning Juve have the potential to make further ground on the leading pack.
Juve, who saw Alvaro Morata agree a new contract on Thursday, have lost just one of their last 23 Serie A home matches against rivals Fiorentina but Marchisio feels Paulo Sousa’s men have earned their lofty place this term.
“The match on Sunday is very important,” explained the Italy international.
“It’s an opportunity to change things up at the top of the table as there are a few big clubs playing one another and we need to be able to take advantage of the situation.
“Fiorentina are an excellent side and they deserve to be where they are at this moment in time. We’ll need to be on our toes, even if we’re playing at home.
“We’ve shown considerable consistency of late with the five league wins in a row, but we know that there remains plenty of work to be done.”
While Juve surrendered top spot in their Champions League group with defeat to Sevilla, Sousa’s Fiorentina made certain of Europa League progression courtesy of Thursday’s 1-0 win over Belenenses.
Fiorentina maintained their impressive domestic form with a 3-0 win over Udinese last weekend and could go top depending on Inter’s result at the Stadio Communale Friuli on Saturday.
Following their Europa League group stage finale, Borja Valero told Sky Sport Italia: “We have to prepare for Juventus now and we hope we can do well.
“The fans consider this the most important game of the year and therefore so do we as players.
“We want to win both for the fans and for us, so we can stay near the top of the table. We are not afraid of anyone, we’ll go to Turin to play our game, even if it won’t be easy against a very strong Juventus side.”
Allegri still has doubts over Roberto Pereyra and Sami Khedira (both thigh) – who missed the Sevilla defeat – while Jakub Blaszczykowski (muscle) is set to miss out again for Fiorentina.
Key Opta stats:
– Fiorentina have failed to score in five out of their last seven league games against Juventus.
– Juve have scored at least one goal in all the last 29 home league games against Fiorentina. The last match in which Fiorentina kept a clean sheet was back in November 1981 (0-0).
– Fiorentina have scored in 22 consecutive Serie A games.
– In his first season at Juventus, Carlos Tevez scored seven goals and made three assists by round 15 – as many as Paulo Dybala this season.