Allegri hypes Juve clash with Inter as Serie A fight for second place
Massimiliano Allegri paid no attention to Juventus' Serie A points deduction as he declared his side will be facing Inter on Sunday to "defend second place".
The Bianconeri were served with a 15-point deduction in January for financial irregularities, sending them tumbling down the standings and facing a fierce fight to secure Champions League qualification for next season.
Juventus sit seventh in the table, 10 points adrift of fourth-placed Milan, but Allegri sees things differently and considers the clash with Inter to be a fight for the runners-up spot.
His team would sit second but for their punishment, three points ahead of Inter but still 15 points behind runaway leaders Napoli.
"We go to San Siro to defend second place," Allegri told a press conference. "I will repeat it until exhaustion. We are second with three points more than Inter, five ahead of Milan, four ahead of Lazio and six ahead of Roma.
"If at the end of the year the team net of penalties will be sixth or fifth in the standings, then it means that we will not have done well.
"We'll take stock at the end of the season. There are definitely positives. We've got five youngsters playing. We're still in the cups and need to get into the top four in the league. We also need to assess what we've done on the field."
Allegri is under no illusions regarding the challenge of Sunday's clash at San Siro, however, and wants improvements from Thursday's Europa League display, when Juventus won 2-0 against 10-man Freiburg.
"The team must do better than the second half on Thursday night against Freiburg. We must be aware that we are going to play against a team that does well at home," Allegri said.
"We have to do our best – it's a tough challenge tomorrow. We need to try to come out on top in these contests with direct rivals. It'll be tough to close the gap in the league, but we must remember that on the field we've picked up 53 points."