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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Pirlo: Juve put rivals on notice

Andrea Pirlo insists Juventus proved they will not easily relinquish their Serie A title after Sunday's convincing 3-0 win over Napoli.

Pirlo was among the goal scorers for Juve.

Goals to Fernando Llorente, Pirlo and Paul Pogba's stunning volley allowed the Bianconeri to move within one point of league leaders Roma.

Gladwell: Pirlo again decisive

Pirlo scored his third league goal of the season and believes Juve's campaign is back on track after defeats to Fiorentina and Real Madrid last month.

"I was fortunate with my goal, but I'm happier with the victory," he told Sky Sport Italia. "We tried to send a signal to those in front of us, to let them know we're going to have a great season.

"The two defeats to Fiorentina and Real Madrid helped us to grow. Now we have rediscovered ourselves and must continue along this path. The Giallorossi [Roma] and Napoli will be in the title fight to the end. We just have to focus on ourselves."

Frenchman Pogba, who struck a vicious volley into the top right corner, conceded his strike required a bit of luck.

"I actually got the first touch wrong, but it went in afterwards" he told Sky Sport Italia. "It could’ve ended up in the stands, but all the players told me to shoot because I’m good from distance, so I gave it a go.

"If the ball lands in among the fans, then that’s fine, but I will keep trying and see where it ends up."

Coach Antonio Conte expressed his frustration at being immediately questioned on Llorente's opener in his post-match press conference after the Spaniard was believed to have scored from an offside position.

"I find it sad that after a game we played so well for 90 minutes and won 3-0, the first thing I'm asked about is about a marginal offside call," Conte said. "It takes away from the performance of the team and I am truly disappointed. You expect the start to be compliments for a fine performance or any other questions about tactics, players and situations.

"This is our third year as challengers, yet we always hear talk about referees or wait for the tiniest opportunity to say Juventus are done or not as good as they were - but we're still here.

"It's not easy to stay near the top of a league that has improved dramatically. A coach has to be a good psychologist and think the way players think. I said it would be tough for us this year, as the others have everything to gain and we have it all to lose.

"That's why I said whoever doesn't win has failed. Everyone praises the other teams, but Juventus are always up there. It's tough - for us and everyone else."

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