Diego revels in creator role at Juve

Playmaker confident goals will come as he looks to build on bright start in Turin
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The Juventus playmaker Diego insists he is not concerned by his lack of goals – providing he continues creating them for others as his side take on Sampdoria in a second v third clash in Serie A tonight.

The Brazilian, who was Juve's marquee signing in the summer when he arrived from Werder Bremen, has been highly impressive for the his new club as they look likely to be the strongest challengers for the leaders Internazionale's league crown.

While he has struggled to find the net himself – despite being a regular scorer in the Bundesliga – Diego has certainly been productive, laying on goals in the recent matches with Maccabi Haifa and Siena.

He said: "I like giving assists. I did it for Vincenzo Iaquinta and Giorgio Chiellini, as well as Amauri. I am happy I can decide wins with my free-kicks. Of course I am aiming to score, but it isn't a problem if I don't for now. However, saying that, I hope to do so soon."

Diego has also been dragged into the protracted debate about the Sampdoria forward Antonio Cassano and his struggle to get back into Italy's national team. "I'm not sure if he deserves the national team, but I can say he is world class," he said. "He is an important player for Samp and merits attention. We need to mark him tightly."

The Juventus manager Ciro Ferrara will be without Iaquinta tonight, who is facing around five weeks on the sidelines after undergoing knee surgery today. Ferrara is also without Tiago, Alessandro Del Piero, Hasan Salihamidzic, Claudio Marchisio and Jonathan Zebina.

Former Juve youngster Daniele Gastaldello returns from injury for Sampdoria with Franco Semioli the only absentee as they seek to continue an excellent run that has put them second behind Inter and two points ahead of tonight's opponents.

"It's a new feeling for us but a positive one," the Sampdoria coach Luigi Del Neri said of his side's lofty position. "We're now going to play against a team which has a winning culture and we can learn from their mentality and their desire to do well. This is just the match we need to see if we are getting used to being at the top.

"We're enjoying our role as outsiders, without giving any weight to what people are saying about us. Everything is going well here. We know what we can do, the season will be long and difficult but we are a big club with players of great quality.

"Juve have an abundance of physical strengths, they exploit free-kicks so dead-ball situations will be a battle. We need to keep our wits about us as they are also a dangerous threat in the air."

Thiago Silva is hoping Milan can replicate their performance at Real Madrid when they visit Napoli tonight. Milan won 3-2 at the Bernabeu last Wednesday in the Champions League and gave a performance that is likely to be used as the benchmark for the rest of the season.

The Rossoneri will certainly need to be at their resolute best for the trip south to the hostile Stadio San Paolo in Naples. And Silva believes the attacking approach Milan adopted in Madrid could serve them well once more.

He said: "Napoli are a great team with quality players who can make the difference. We have to go to the San Paolo to take control of the game, play with personality but always respecting the opponent."

Milan's win in the Spanish capital came either side of Serie A successes against Roma and Chievo and lifted the pressure considerably on coach Leonardo, who was starting to feel the heat after a slow start to the season.

But they will have to be at their best against a Napoli side who arguably enjoyed the best result of the weekend, winning 1-0 at Fiorentina on Sunday.

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