Despite the win against Sampdoria, Massimiliano Allegri doesn’t believe six points is a big enough gap over Napoli and insists the players should keep their foot on the gas until the very end: “The gap is not big enough. Napoli are still in the race and until the Scudetto is mathematically certain, we have to keep on winning,” the coach said. “On Wednesday we’ve got Crotone, who are fighting to stay up and then it’s first against second.”
Nevertheless, the three points today have strengthened Juve’s position in top spot, and a lot of credit should go Douglas Costa for his decisive turn off the bench: “We should thank Pjanic for having to come off with an injury,” Allegri joked. “I started with Costa and Higuain on the bench to ensure we had guys available who could change the game. After the substitution, we were able to spread the play more and that was important because the opposition get up and down the pitch. It was key to win after the Real Madrid game, in which we invested a lot of mental and physical energy. Today we needed to be attentive, technically proficient and intelligent against a team capable of playing good football.”
Part of the applause went deservedly to Benedikt Howedes, who put in an excellent performance, topped off with a goal, on only his second start: “Unfortunately, he’s had an unlucky year and after his injuries it wasn’t easy to put him in the team,” the coach admitted, “but today it was the right game for him because I needed a bit of cover. He’s a smart guy, got good technique and is a World Cup winner. He scored a great goal too. I’m happy for him because he’s got his head screwed on and he’s a top pro".