Maurizio Sarri prefers for Juventus to “focus on quality and style” ahead of their match against Inter in the first Derby D’Italia of the season.
The Bianconeri boss was speaking ahead of the top of the table clash and was asked about who would start alongside Cristiano Ronaldo: Paulo Dybala or Gonzalo Higuain.
“I don’t need to convince players, I need to make decisions. It’s only fair that players are angry if they don’t play and I consider that a positive rather than a negative reaction.
“It is my job to make decisions, I can’t worry about how the players react. Their irritation might make your headlines, but I see it as a positive show of ambition.
“We are up against a strong side, in good shape, as proved with their excellent performance against Barcelona. You cannot say one or the other is the favourite in a one-off match, especially as Inter-Juventus is one of those wonderful experiences that everyone wants to be a part of. It’ll be followed all over the world, so I can only see the positives.
“It’s a strong team, solid and when taking control of the game is dangerous, whereas out of possession they are good on the counter and defend well. I’ve seen a strong Inter play this season.
“Conte is one of the best Coaches in the world and proved himself all over. If you want to see tomorrow as Conte v Sarri rather than Inter v Juventus, then I don’t understand your approach.
“I’d say the importance of this game in the title race is close to zero. It’s too early, it makes little difference when there are another 31 rounds to go.
“It’s about the growth process of the team, more important to prove we can emerge from San Siro with a good performance and the mentality of a strong team. It’d be a huge error to think the table is decided at the start of October.
“We changed a few players, our style of football, and are up against an Inter side who have improved radically compared to previous seasons.
“Our focus is on raising the level of the performances, as that will make it easier for us to get results. We have to be concentrated on the performances and adapting to the different style of football. I have great desire to experience this fixture. It is a wide open match and any result is possible.
“We each evaluate a performance based on the kind of football we want to see. We intend to go there and play our football. People talk so much about desire, determination, hunger, but these are surely natural elements of a professional. I prefer to focus on quality and style.
“We’ll see if we are able to adapt to the situations and opponents that we face. I like to see teams with a very precise way of playing that they carry on with consistently.
“We know that a Coach has 100 different decisions to make in a day, so we inevitably get some wrong. The ability to keep errors to a minimum is a great quality for a Coach.
“The statistics show that Inter have the strongest defence in Serie A right now, both for the quality of the individuals, but also because the entire team is solid and works hard to defend as a team. They are a solid side.
“We’ll see which of our forwards are in the best shape and how best to attack Inter, but it certainly won’t be easy.
“If a result at the start of October damages us psychologically, that means we are not ready to do great things.
“Unfortunately, I struggled to use Bernardeschi in the role that best suits him. I think what he did against Bayer Leverkusen is most suited to him, he did well and has been improving in training too.
“Whether he plays tomorrow or not, I’d prefer to tell him in person rather than let him learn it from the media. That’s a form of respect that every Coach owes his players.”
[Translation from Football Italia]