Allegri expects Roma to challenge for title


Roma should not be ruled out as Serie A title contenders despite winning only once in the league since November 8, according to Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.

Juve will look to avenge a 2-1 defeat in August when they host Roma on Sunday, the defending champions looking to extend their 10-game winning streak in the league.

While some consider Roma - who appointed Luciano Spalletti as Rudi Garcia's replacement earlier this month - out of the running to claim the Scudetto given they are nine points behind leaders Napoli, Allegri disagrees.

In fact, the arrival of Spalletti makes the Juve boss even more wary of the threat posed by this weekend's visitors.

"Roma are still Scudetto contenders because they have quality players," he told a media conference. "There will certainly be a reaction after changing coach and this game is still Juve-Roma, so that means it will be a difficult and important game.

"They have the squad capable of putting together a positive streak of results. I don't believe any of the top five are ruled out of the title race.

"Don't forget when we were 10-12 points off the leaders, we were in a different psychological state to right now, but in football it's quick for things to turn around.

"Therefore we have to focus not on what we've done, but what we still need to do.  We've had a few wins, but have achieved nothing yet other than to reach March in all three competitions. There is a long way to go."

Sunday's clash begins a big two months for Juve with a Champions League round-of-16 tie against Bayern Munich and a showdown with Inter in the Coppa Italia semi-finals alongside the fight for a fifth successive league title.

Allegri added: "Over the next two months we have the most important games of the season - Bayern twice, Inter twice, Napoli and tomorrow Roma. 

"We'll end that run with the derby on March 20 and then it's the final strait."