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Juventus boss Allegri considers Napoli draw a point gained

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 6 Jan 2022

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Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri feels the magnitude of Napoli’s absentee list was overstated as he declared himself content with his side’s 1-1 draw on Thursday.

Third-placed Napoli were without nearly an entire team of players due to coronavirus, suspension and international call-ups for Thursday’s contest at the Allianz Stadium.

Despite being without the likes of Victor Osimhen, Hirving Lozano, Fabian Ruiz and Kalidou Koulibaly, Napoli led at half-time through a low Dries Mertens drive.

Federico Chiesa hit back for the hosts early in the second half, though, with his first home league goal since last March on what was his 50th start for Juventus.

The Bianconeri pushed for a winner but it remained all square, meaning the sides played out a league draw in Turin for the first time since May 2011.

Juve have now won four and drawn two of their last six league games and are three points behind fourth-placed Atalanta, who have a game in hand.

However, Allegri does not believe the visitors were as decimated as some made out and considers a point a good result.

“Napoli were missing four first choice players; we were missing six last time, so these things happen,” he told DAZN.

“We had chances to take the lead, but were a little imprecise and hasty in the final third. We got back on level terms and then were hasty again.

“We have to see this in positive terms, as a point gained. I’d like to see more calm and focus in the final third, but some of it is also to do with the characteristics of the players.

“Napoli have some excellent passers, while we have some areas where we need to improve, but overall it was a good performance.”

Napoli, who were also without COVID-hit head coach Luciano Spalletti, fielded their oldest line-up in the three-points-per-win era in Serie A.

The Partenopei gave as good as they got in the first half but were the happier of the two sides at full-time, finishing with an expected goals (xG) return of 0.8 to Juve’s 1.1.

Manuel Locatelli, who had more touches of the ball (84) than any Juve player, disagreed with Allegri’s assertion that it felt like a point gained for his side.

“I think we have some regret because we wanted to win,” he told DAZN. “It’s a pity we went behind. We wanted to win, especially at home.

“We played with intensity, which is what the coach asked for, and are trying to achieve that for 90 minutes to bring home important points.

“It’s an important month and could be decisive because there are some head-to-head clashes and we need to pick up as many points as possible.”

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