Maurizio Sarri is worried about “mystery” Palermo and warns Napoli not to look ahead or behind in the Serie A table.
It kicks off on Sunday at 19.45 GMT, click here for a match preview.
“I already told the lads on Friday that anyone who watches the Juventus game is an idiot, because it won’t influence anything,” declared the Coach in his Press conference.
“We just have to focus on Palermo, not the table. I don’t like this football that is spread out over several days, if it were up to me we’d all play simultaneously.
“There’s no point watching the others, as they cannot influence us and we cannot influence them. If we look at those ahead of us we risk anxiety, because we can’t do anything about a team that has won non-stop for five months. We can’t look over our shoulders, as otherwise we’ll get scared.
“Playing after Juve or before won’t add pressure, because we have to always assume they’ll win. Juve have a history and a winning mentality that can only be earned after winning everything for four years and reaching the Champions League Final.
“Of course, Juventus say that when facing Barcelona. Clearly right now they have more strength and confidence than us, we are just starting our journey.
“What I want from my players is to end the season without regrets. If they take it one game at a time, without looking elsewhere, they can have that.
“I won’t ever wipe out my dream, not even on the final day. We are facing an exceptional Juventus side that has won 18 of the last 19 games. Perhaps that is belittling what we have achieved, but we cannot take Juventus as the norm. We have a dream and tomorrow we must use that dream to parry Palermo’s motivation.
“The biggest regret this season? Losing 3-2 at Bologna, absolutely. We played on fairly level terms with Milan and Juventus, but with all due respect to Bologna, we threw points away at the Dall’Ara.”
Palermo make their debut under Walter Novellino, yet another new Coach, after Beppe Iachini resigned this week.
“It’ll be tough at Palermo, this team has considerably more quality than their current position would suggest, and this makes them even more determined. It’ll be a more difficult match than we expected.
“The fact it’s a new Coach making his debut means we have no point of reference to predict how they’ll play. He generally used four at the back, but I don’t know if he’ll do that again tomorrow. It’s a match full of mysteries.
“I am annoyed that we have conceded in the last four games despite playing well in defence. In football the defensive movements have to be excellent for the full 90 minutes.
“We are conceding strange goals that can be considered unlucky, but we have to stop thinking that way. It is us who must do more to avoid dips in concentration and defensive intensity.”
When Sarri was asked about his contract renewal, he gave the reporter short shrift.
“Will it be affected by the game in Palermo? No. It would be a mistake for us or the club to think about the contract now.”