Sunday January 12 2020
Sarri: 'Juve tried to sit on lead'

Maurizio Sarri maintains Juventus “played well for 60 minutes, but tried to sit on our lead rather than increase it” in a 2-1 victory away to Roma.

This win, along with Inter’s 1-1 draw against Atalanta last night, means the Bianconeri are alone on top of the Serie A table at the halfway stage and are therefore crowned Winter Champions.

Their result was achieved within 10 minutes, when Merih Demiral met a free kick and Cristiano Ronaldo converted a penalty.

“We played well for a good 60 minutes, and suffering at the Olimpico against Roma is almost inevitable,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“What I did not like is that we tried to sit on our lead rather than increase it, as three times we had three-against-one counter-attacks and didn’t finish them off.

“We did well for long periods, so I am happy with the result, but we tried to pass it inside our own half when in the lead rather than push it forward.

“I don’t think the long ball is a great idea, partly because we don’t have many strikers who are strong in the air, but also because it can get us 6-7 goals per season, but I believe will also lead to us conceding another 10.

“There are risks with our passing game, but what we need to do is pass the ball in order to go forward, not just to keep hold of it for no reason.

“We got too deep towards the end and that inevitably became dangerous. I prefer to defend 30 metres further forward, so I also tried to change the system in order to change that.”

Paulo Dybala seemed very irritated when he was substituted by Gonzalo Higuain.

“I couldn’t care less, to be perfectly honest. The game was telling me to do certain things and I had to make decisions. Paulo can give his response on the field, but it’s pretty normal. I’ve never seen a player leave the pitch looking happy with the idea.”

Sarri was asked about the performances of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot, who are playing more now with Rodrigo Bentancur suspended and Sami Khedira injured.

“They are improving game by game, so I am pleased with them both, but they also have margins for improvement. Aaron was also able to score a few goals at Arsenal, as it’s in his DNA to run forward between the lines.

“It’s not easy for him in Serie A and he had a series of fitness issues. We knew that we’d have to wait for him and I am pleased that our patience is paying off. I am convinced the same will be said of Rabiot.”

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £9.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: