Clubs, Italian Serie A, Juventus, Story

Mario Mandzukic’s powerful first-half header means Juventus have now won 16 our of 17 Serie A games this season.

Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini praised the collective spirit of the team as they restored their eight-point lead over second-placed Napoli with a 1-0 win over Roma.

Juve will top the table at Christmas as, with Cristiano Ronaldo frustrated in front of goal against Roma, Mario Mandzukic stepped up to seal the win.

“The strength of this team is not one player: whether that’s me, or Cristiano, or Mario, but it’s in the collective and we saw that tonight,” Chiellini told the club website. “In the second half we could have done a bit better when we were in possession in their half, we were struggling to counter-attack at times.

“We can get better, because we really needed to score a second goal. Games are played across the whole 90 minutes. We’ll enjoy a few hours of rest and then it’s on to thinking about Bergamo, where a tough game awaits us.”

Manager Massimiliano Allegri was happy with the win but said he was already targeting more points.

 “We haven’t won anything yet,” he said. “We are doing good things and we are the winter champions but we need to have picked up even more points as of Dec. 29.

“The lads played well after the break and (Robin) Olsen made some good saves. Overall I’m happy, we put on a good show.

“We had to put a lot of pressure on Roma to make things difficult for them psychologically, and after we took the lead there were a few situations which we could have exploited better, but on the whole we did well, in both halves.”

Juventus face Atalanta next on Boxing Day, before a meeting with Sampdoria.

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