Albiol won't dwell on Juve tie just yet

Napoli defender Raul Albiol has warned his team-mates not to get ahead of themselves as they prepare for their weekend showdown with Juventus.

Mario Balotelli; Raul Albiol

Rafael Benitez's men entertain the Serie A champions elect on Sunday as they attempt to keep themselves engaged in the battle for second place.

However, they must first safely negotiate a trip to lowly Catania on Wednesday evening.

Albiol told Casa Napoli on Piuenne TV: "Juve on Sunday will be a special game for the fans and for us.

"Now, however, we think of Catania and then devote ourselves body and soul to the challenge of the year against the Bianconeri."

Third-placed Napoli are currently six points adrift of Roma, who have a game in hand, in second, but seven better off than Fiorentina, who are heading the chasing pack.

By contrast, Catania sit at the foot of the table, four points adrift of safety with nine games left to play.

Their need is equally pressing, but the form guide suggests it is Napoli who will be favourites to emerge with the points.

Sunday's 1-0 home defeat by Fiorentina, during which defender Faouzi Ghoulam was sent off before the break, was their first in seven league games.

However, it came at the end of a difficult week which also saw the club bow out of the Europa League. A 2-2 draw at the Stadio San Paolo saw Porto progress to the quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate.

Napoli will go into the game confident of success, with Albiol backing striker Gonzalo Higuain to continue his education in Italian football, which has brought him 19 goals to date since his big-money summer switch from Real Madrid, their shared former club.

Spaniard Albiol said: "Higuain next season will make even more of a mark because he has figured out how to work the Italian defences. In Spain, no team defends with five men."

For their part, Catania have only one league victory to their name in 11 outings, but have proved difficult to beat at the Stadio Angelo Massimino.

Indeed, Sunday's 1-0 home defeat by Juventus, which came courtesy of Carlos Tevez's lone strike, was just their fourth of the season with Inter Milan, AC Milan and Fiorentina the only other visitors to leave with the spoils.

Catania will be without striker Gonzalo Bergessio, who was sent off for a second bookable offence at the weekend, while Napoli will have the suspended Ghoulam and injured midfielder Dries Mertens missing.



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