Saturday September 21 2013
Allegri: 'Why are Napoli favourites?'

Max Allegri doesn’t see why Napoli should be considered favourites against Milan, even if they have the “diabolical” Gonzalo Higuain.

San Siro hosts the big clash on Sunday evening at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT), click here for a match preview.

“I think the only reason Napoli are considered to be favourites is because they have nine points. We are missing the points from our game with Verona,” argued the Coach in his Press conference.

“Napoli are playing good football and they have a good collective. Rafa Benitez has done well, as it was difficult to change the side after so many years to adopt a 4-4-2 system. It is going to be a balanced game.

“Higuain is diabolical, as he seems to vanish out of matches, but in truth he’s always present. Marek Hamsik is confirming his status in Europe and Jose Maria Callejon is international level.”

The injury crisis has still ruled out Kaka, Stephan El Shaarawy, Riccardo Montolivo and Mattia De Sciglio, but Allegri does have some good news.

“Ignazio Abate and M’Baye Niang are available tomorrow. Andrea Poli is 100 per cent fit. We’ll see tomorrow what is to be done. I am convinced the lads will have a great game.

“It’s going to be tough for both teams, but we both have players who can do damage and therefore have to be wary of that. We have to improve as a side, but it’s also true that we did what we could against Celtic with the players at our disposal.”

Mario Balotelli has never beaten Napoli in his career, losing all three encounters, but is starting to form a partnership with Alessandro Matri.

“He sacrificed himself for the team and needs to improve, but then this is the first time he is a real protagonist from the start of the season. I liked the way they played together, as Matri fought hard to create space for Balotelli.

“Robinho did well against Cagliari and I have to take the balance of the side into consideration. He played 60 minutes against Torino, but right now playing with three strikers upfront could be difficult. I could make adjustments during the game.”

Milan have stuttered so far this term, losing to Verona and scraping a last-gasp 2-2 draw with Torino.

“I didn’t expect us to have a better start to the season, as the important thing is we end the games running hard. Of course, the Champions League preliminary round cost us a lot of energy and we have to chase the others, but there’s a long way to go.”

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