Claudio Marchisio believes Juventus need to “take the fizz out of” Napoli in tomorrow’s Scudetto showdown.
The joint Serie A leaders go head-to-head in Turin at 17.00 BST, a game you can watch LIVE on your computer.
“This is the big match of the moment,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Winning isn’t important for the Scudetto, as there is still far too long to go.
“However, on a psychological level the three points could take the fizz out of Napoli. It’d hit their confidence and stop the atmosphere getting too fired up. Napoli improve year after year and if they were to gain confidence then they could cause us problems.
“I’ll be honest, the first weeks of the campaign would suggest the title is a two-horse race. We are the best teams, the most organised and complete. Juve and Napoli also play the most convincing football. Having said that, there are always dangers lurking around the corner, as Inter, Milan, Lazio and Roma must be respected.
“Who is stronger? In a one-off game, anything can happen, but over the course of a campaign I’d say Juve. In my view we are superior in terms of individuals, our history and how accustomed we are to winning.”
Napoli did beat Juventus in the Coppa Italia Final in May, then the Italian Super Cup in Beijing ended bitterly with two red cards and a 4-2 Bianconeri win in extra time.
“What did I think when Napoli boycotted the Super Cup trophy ceremony? I thought our football had lost another good opportunity to impress the rest of the world.”
Walter Mazzarri continues to criticise that refereeing performance and any wrong move can spark a powder keg of controversy.
“It was a game that effectively did become easier for us after the red cards, but I keep hearing people say that Napoli would certainly have won if they had all 11 men on the field. I won’t stand for that,” continued Marchisio.
“They took the lead twice and we caught them both times. Juve took the initiative, while Napoli only acted on the counter.”
The Italy and Juventus midfielder had praise for several members of the Napoli squad.
“By selling Ezequiel Lavezzi, they have become more of a team. They may not be as creative, but with Goran Pandev they are extremely efficient in front of goal. He’s a great team player, while Marek Hamsik is certainly today among the top players in Europe.”
This week Antonio Cassano revealed he had repeatedly rejected a move to Juventus because the club wanted “good little soldiers” to follow orders.
“I don’t want to cause controversy with Cassano. I can only say that at Juventus there is a unique mentality, in that the team comes before all else. This is taught to us from the first day. Don’t forget stars like Zinedine Zidane and Alessandro Del Piero played here too.”