Maurizio Sarri

Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri should be braced for a frosty reception from Napoli fans when he takes his side to visit the San Paolo for their Serie A clash on Sunday.

Supporters of the home side have plastered banners around the stadium, and they will leave the former Chelsea manager in little doubt as to the opinion of the fans.

One banner which appeared on social media reads: “Sarri, hunchback b*stard. You said a lot about Juve but then you dropped your pants!”

Speaking on Saturday, Sarri indicated that he felt that any abuse he got from the supporters would be “a sign of affection”.

“It is a special game for me, but we mustn’t spend too much energy on personal issues and focus on the collective,” he declared in his pre-match press conference, though he urged fans not to get on the back of former hitman Gonzalo Higuain, who has been the subject of their ire in the past.

“We have a very important match to play. If the fans did jeer me, I would consider that a show of affection. They were unfair to do that to Higuain, though.

“If Higuain plays tomorrow or not is purely a tactical consideration and has nothing to do with the atmosphere.”

Napoli have struggled since Sarri left the club, while Juve currently occupy their regular spot at the head of the Serie A table as they battle with Antonio Conte’s second-placed Inter to be crowned champions of Italy.

The Naples outfit, meanwhile, are down in 13th and on a run of three successive defeats, having seen Carlo Ancelotti depart the club earlier this season.

“Their current position in the table is strange because they are the best in many aspects,” Sarri said.

“Looking at the statistics, you feel they are destined to climb back up quickly.

“I know only too well what motivation they will have going into this game. Napoli are changing, Gennaro Gattuso likes to bring solidity to his teams and it looks as if he is achieving that intent here.”

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