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Sarri: ‘Juve have work to do’

September 19, 2019

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri believes the team “have to work on defending from set-plays” after letting a 2-0 lead slip against Atletico Madrid.

The Bianconeri were decidedly better in the second half of their match against Atleti, but conceded two goals to draw the game.

“It was a vast improvement from the last performance and we felt like the game was in our hands, so drawing leaves a bitter taste in the mouth,” Sarri told Sky Sport Italia.

“Juventus had not scored in this stadium for many visits, and we got two goals, plus had another three or four shots on goal. It’s disappointing, because the Atleti goals came from predictable situations, and yet we weren’t ready for them.

“The cliché would be to switch to man-marking, but I don’t think that makes sense. We need to be more aggressive on set plays. Atleti are very good in the air, but the ball was so weak, and we were too passive, as it could’ve been cut out.

“If we’re being passive, then we’d be passive with man-marking too. I also see a lot of VAR incidents with man-marking lead to penalties, so that’s another area to be wary of. We will work on defending from set plays.

“We knew there would be spaces and Cuadrado’s pace and sharpness on the counter could be very useful.

“I think that against Fiorentina there were some negative situations, and we let ourselves get distracted, so lost the focus on the real objective, which was to get three points. The Viola were much more determined and I saw a physical gap, yet the statistics afterwards showed we ran better and had quicker accelerations.

“I therefore assume the difference was psychological, so they got to the ball first because they were more determined. Tonight, we had the right level of determination and showed some of the things we try every day in training.

“Now we need to resolve the problem of set plays, as it’s penalising to concede four goals in three games from dead-ball situations.

“On the bench and the lads in the stands write constantly to speed up the work the next morning. We allowed the opposition 20 turnarounds and that uses up a lot of energy. It also means we evidently had the ball in open spaces and were caught out.

“Cuadrado trained for two months as a full-back and today played in attack, so evidently that was my fault in training him for one role and then using him in another. I accept that might make it difficult for him.”

[Translation from Football Italia]

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