Higuain ‘should not feel like a traitor’

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri insists striker Gonzalo Higuain should not "feel like a traitor" after his decision to leave Napoli for the Old Lady in the off-season.

The Argentina international angered Partenopei fans after joining Juve in a reported €90 million deal, having bagged an incredible 36 goals in his final season at Stadio San Paolo.

The 28-year-old came up against his former employers for the first time on Saturday and made a telling contribution, netting the winning goal in a 2-1 triumph for Allegri's men.

However, the striker refused to celebrate his goal out of respect for his former club, and Allegri has praised the player's "bravery" for making the decision to join Juventus.

"Gonzalo has extraordinary qualities and above all works hard for the team," Allegri said after the match.

"He was very happy. Naturally, this was a special game for him. He made a choice to come here and absolutely should not feel like a traitor. Instead, he made a courageous decision.

"He played a good game and has committed as much as [Mario] Mandzukic. They say that they cannot play together, however, I am very satisfied."

Reflecting on the result and what it potentially means in the context of the early jostling for positions near the top of the table, Allegri was quick to highlight the fact that the title race was by no means over.

He added: "It is an important result, but is still not a decisive one. Roma can still aspire to the title.

"They are five points behind but can win tomorrow and Napoli are seven points back but can recover.

"We won a direct clash against a team that plays beautiful football.

"This match was hard-fought, intense and quite balanced and in the second half we ran a few risks with one-against-one situations. 

"The game was a little bland in terms of tempo at first, but the intensity stepped up. There were few scoring opportunities – as is natural in these big, top-of-the-table matches.

"I liked the second half, we created and conceded a goal that might have been avoided, but I am satisfied."