Allegri: Juve's hard work starts now

The Bianconeri coach has warned his players not to slow down as they chase a fifth consecutive Serie A title and admits Paulo Dybala is still out injured ahead of their next game

Massimiliano Allegri has stressed that "the hard work starts now" for Juventus as they look to seal their fifth consecutive Serie A title.

The reigning champions have gone three points clear of Napoli with eight games to go following a run of 19 wins in 20 games, but Allegri has stressed they cannot afford to slow down.

"Saturday's game against Empoli marks the beginning of a mini eight-game championship. Our job is to maintain our lead at the top," the Juventus boss said at a media conference.

"We've been excellent so far this season but the hard work starts now. There are two trophies at stake. We need to be very intense and have the right approach. Determination will be very important in the upcoming games.

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"We are taking things one step at a time, it will be an open league right until the end. Playing five of our remaining eight games at home could be an advantage, but only if we play with the right mind-set."

Juventus will likely still be without the injured Paulo Dybala on Saturday, while Claudio Marchisio could return to the squad.

"Dybala is unlikely to feature. He's one of a handful we'll be assessing between now and tomorrow," Allegri added.

"Marchisio has been training well, we'll have to see if he's going be fit in time for the match against Empoli.

"With Leonardo Bonucci unavailable, Daniele Rugani is in the frame to start Saturday night."