Udinese v Juventus: Pirlo not taking Serie A lead for granted
Andrea Pirlo has played down the significance of Juventus' seven-point gap to Roma at the top of Serie A and called for focus ahead of Sunday's trip to Udinese.
Juve's bid for a fourth consecutive Scudetto appears well on course, with the Turin club having lost just once in the league this season.
Nearest challengers Roma have hit a dip in form recently and a run of four draws in their past five league matches has seen Rudi Garcia's side fall slightly off the pace.
Veteran midfielder Pirlo expects Roma to fight back, though, and is wary of a tough visit to the Stadio Comunale Friuli.
"A seven-point lead is nothing," he told Juventus' official website. "It's [Udinese] a difficult venue to play at.
"They approach the game following a decent win at Empoli which took them away from the congested pack in mid-table, so they’ll be able to play with clear heads.
"We need to win to keep Roma at bay, they'll give us a run for our money right until the end."
Pirlo's distinguished career has seen him win five Serie A titles with Juve and Milan, while twice winning the UEFA Champions League with the latter.
Even at the age of 35, the former Inter man remains hungry to add to his medal haul.
"That's my character, I'm not the type of person who needs to find my focus in the days leading up to the game," he added.
"I'm able to enjoy a laugh and a joke, but the minute I get on the pitch and hear the crowd, I'm immediately in the zone and focused on the target.
"You need to possess the desire to keep winning, playing and having fun. Having the right mindset is crucial for a footballer."
Massimiliano Allegri's side, who will give a late check to Arturo Vidal after he hurt his knee in Wednesday's 1-0 win at Parma in the Coppa Italia, head to Udinese having not lost in the league in three months.
Furthermore, Juve have won the past six encounters between the two teams and have not suffered defeat at Udinese since April 2010.
If Andrea Stramaccioni's side are to spring a surprise they will need to return to the form that saw them win four of their opening five home league matches this term.
Their last victory at the Stadio Comunale Friuli came in October, but a battling 2-1 win at Empoli last week saw them climb into the top 10.