Juventus must focus first on avoiding drop, says Allegri

ROME, Italy, (AFP) – Juventus' first objective is to stay in Serie A after a 15-point penalty for fraudulent transfers, coach Massimiliano Allegri said Monday.

The deductions, and three league matches without a win, have dropped Juventus from second in Serie A to 13th, 10 points above the relegation places.

"At the moment we have 23 points. We need to reach 40 points to save ourselves. It may make you smile, but that's how it is," Allegri told a press conference on the eve of a trip to Salernitana.

The Granata, who are 16th, would overtake Juventus and draw level with 12th-place Fiorentina with a victory.

"We must give ourselves mini-objectives and move forward one step at a time. First to catch the 12th team and then the other teams ahead of us," said Allegri, who also has an eye on two cup competitions.

"By doing this, we will win games. It will maintain a high intensity ahead of the Europa League and the Coppa Italia."

Juventus face Nantes in a Europa League playoff, with the home first-leg tie on February 16, and Inter Milan in the Coppa Italia semi-finals in April.

Against Salernitana, Juve will still be without Paul Pogba, who suffered another setback last week when he felt muscle discomfort in a thigh, the coach said.

The Frenchman, who suffered a right knee injury in July and underwent surgery in early September, has not played for Juve since his return last summer, six years after leaving for Manchester United.

Juventus were docked 15 points by the Italian Football Federation on January 20 for overstating capital gains on player sales.

The Turin club has announced an appeal to the Italian Olympic Committee.

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