Connect with us


Napoli ‘to keep hands on wheel’ as Pogba return boosts Juve

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti says his players are drowning out what he sees as premature title chatter despite knowing victory over Lazio on Friday would send them 21 points clear in Serie A.

The league leaders have won eight games in a row and 19 of their past 20 in the top flight—a run that began with a 2-1 victory away to Lazio on September 3.

“We’re not listening to those who want us to take our hands off the wheel and start celebrating, because there are still twists and turns to come,” said Spalletti.

“Our fans must take to the field with us and not wait for us at the finish line.”

Napoli are closing in on a first Serie A crown since the days of Diego Maradona, who inspired the club to their only two league titles in 1987 and 1990.

They have dropped just seven points over 24 games this season and midfielder Eljif Elmas insisted Napoli have no intention of slowing down.

“Eighteen points is a big margin but honestly we’re not looking at the table because we want to try to win every game we have left,” Elmas told Radio Kiss Kiss.

“We’re playing good football and our aim is to maintain this pace and keep doing what we’re doing because we deserve to be where we are.

“We’re not getting carried away and we’re not going to ease up at all.”

Lazio are back in the Champions League places following wins over Salernitana and Sampdoria but city rivals Roma, in fifth, will be eager to atone for their shock midweek loss to Cremonese.

Roma will be without Jose Mourinho for Saturday’s visit of Juventus after the Portuguese coach was hit with a two-match ban after receiving his third red card of the season against Cremonese.

“I’m emotional but not crazy,” said Mourinho. The league said after the match he also “entered the referees’ dressing room without permission and made seriously offensive statements”.

“For the first time in my career a referee has spoken to me in an unjustifiable way,” added Mourinho.

“To react like that, something must have happened. We need to see if we can do anything from a disciplinary perspective.”

AC Milan have recovered from a dreadful start to 2023 by winning their past four games in all competitions without conceding.

Stefano Pioli’s side face Fiorentina on Saturday ahead of next week’s second leg against Tottenham in the last 16 of the Champions League, while Inter Milan host Lecce on Sunday.

One to watch: Paul Pogba

The France midfielder made his first competitive appearance since April as Juventus defeated Torino 4-2 in the Turin derby on Tuesday.

Pogba injured his right knee injury during pre-season in July shortly after his return to Juve following six years at Manchester United.

The 29-year-old won four Serie A titles in as many seasons during his first spell in Italy, and Juve hope his recovery can help the club make an improbable push for a top-four place following a 15-point deduction for illicit transfer activity.

Key stats

8 – successive league games in which Victor Osimhen has scored for Napoli. The Nigerian is Serie A’s top scorer this season with 19 goals—six more than nearest rival Lautaro Martinez.

30 – Cremonese’s 2-1 victory over Roma snapped the joint-longest run without a win for a club in Italian top-flight history. Ancona also went 30 Serie A games without winning between 1993 and 2004.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


World Cup News


More in Football