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Allegri wary of risking Higuain against Napoli

Gonzalo Higuain

Turin, November 30: Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri says Gonzalo Higuain could face Napoli on Friday, although he is eager not to risk a setback in his recovery.

The striker had an operation on his left hand this week and it was initially feared he could be out of action for up to three weeks.

Allegri says the 30-year-old has recovered well and, despite still being in pain, he could be ready to face his old club at the San Paolo.

However, with key fixtures against Olympiacos, Inter, Roma and a Coppa Italia last-16 clash coming up before Christmas, Allegri is wary of rushing back Higuain too soon.

"The hand is definitely painful but he could be available. We'll see. Let's say I'm confident," he said.

"We'll see how he is, how much pain he's in, because it's pointless risking a player for one game when we have another 30 between now and the end of the season.

"We have to judge things well, along with him."

He continued: "Stephan Lichtsteiner is out. Cuadrado and Bernardeschi have improved their conditions and should be available.

"We'll have to see who plays in attack: Douglas Costa, Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala are the only players who are fully fit at the moment. I will decide tomorrow ."

The champions head into the match four points behind league leaders Napoli, who are unbeaten after 14 games.

Allegri looks prepared to take a pragmatic approach against Maurizio Sarri's attacking side, insisting the strength of Juve's defence and the reduction of mistakes will be key both to the match and the title race as a whole.

"The best defence wins the league title," he said. "Maybe we won't have the best defence this season but we want to win the Scudetto.

"Napoli are doing amazing things in Serie A this season and it will be an important test for us ahead of the match against Olympiacos, where we need to reach the Champions League last 16.

"To beat Napoli would be really significant, but we're focused on putting in a top performance. Whoever makes the fewest mistakes has a better chance of winning."

Source: OPTA

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    Story first published: Thursday, November 30, 2017, 19:00 [IST]
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