Maurizio Sarri was impressed with his Juventus side for the opening 30 minutes of their 0-0 draw against Milan, but concedes they ‘faded away’ as the game went on.
The Bianconeri are through to the final of the Coppa Italia after going through on away goals and will now face either Inter or Napoli next week.
“Clearly after three months, getting back to the touchline and seeing the teams out there is a good feeling, even if it’s not the same without the supporters,” Sarri told Rai Sport.
“I was very surprised and satisfied with our opening 30 minutes, as we moved the ball so quickly and totally dominated the game, even before the red card.
“After that, we slowly dropped our intensity and mental focus, but that is a risk in an empty stadium. We had been doing so well, playing two-touch football, but then we slowed down and lost some sharpness, focused more on individual moves and taking two touches.
“The positive is that we didn’t allow the opponents to play at all. It’s going to take a while to get the match fitness and mentality back to 100%. If you compare it to a pre-season game, it’d be early July, but this is worse than pre-season, because it was a much longer break.
“It’ll take some patience, but the first 30 minutes I saw today was an excellent sign.
“I asked Ronaldo to take a more central role, he was pleased to try it out and he played the game he needed to in this moment. He probably isn’t used to missing a penalty, so hitting the inside of the post it could have gone anywhere and he was unlucky.
“I don’t think playing him a few metres more one way or another is going to make a huge difference to such a strong player. Everyone had a strong opening 30 minutes and then faded away.
“I ****** up. I got swept up in the enthusiasm of having five substitutions, but making three at once was a big risk and at that moment we lost our hold on the game. I evidently ought to spread the changes out more.
“I substituted Douglas Costa out of fear that he’d get hurt, but when I took him off, he still seemed one of the sharpest. He’s a player who can make the difference when fit.
“The important thing is that we are in the Final, then tomorrow we’ll see. Napoli, like us, have lost the home advantage because it’s in an empty stadium. The first leg result might be a slight advantage for Inter, but in truth it’s pretty open still.”