Saturday February 1 2020
Sarri: 'My Napoli words twisted'

Maurizio Sarri believes his words about losing to Napoli were “twisted” and Juventus must move the ball faster against Fiorentina.

It kicks off on Sunday at 11.30 GMT, click here for a match preview.

The 2-1 defeat to Napoli sparked controversy after Sarri said he was glad that if he had to lose to anyone, it was his former squad at the Stadio San Paolo.

“I don’t know about any controversy and it seems strange that some phrases will be twisted,” commented the coach in today’s press conference.

“It seems only natural that after working with those lads for three years and they helped me on a journey that would eventually take me to the biggest club in Italy, there is still fondness and gratitude. The fans should be angry because not only did we lose, but we played really badly, which is even worse.”

Sarri was asked about the tendency of his Juventus to concede goals soon after taking the lead, almost as if they rest on their laurels.

“It could be, although we seem to have overcome that lately. It’s not easy when talking about psychological rather than tactical situations.

“I am not worried by the number of goals we are conceding. We’ve done better in the Champions League and Coppa Italia than in Serie A, but the overall progress is good, even if we can do better.”

Fiorentina have been revitalised under coach Beppe Iachini, who suffered his first competitive defeat in the Coppa Italia with Inter midweek.

“His teams defend with great focus, then counter at speed, so we must try to move the ball quickly in order to avoid a midfield traffic jam. It’s going to be very important that we don’t lose our positions when defending.

“Miralem Pjanic just had a knock to the ankle, but trained with the squad and is available. There are some games where the trident attack is simply not suitable, as in that case the team gets stretched out and achieves nothing. I still maintain that mentality affects performance more than physical fitness.”

Emre Can went to Borussia Dortmund on loan with obligation to buy for a total €26m after failing to break into Sarri’s squad.

“I found a group of 27 players. His quality is not up for debate and he becomes fundamental in a team that has a different way of playing.

“I asked for nothing in the summer and nothing in January. It’s a strong squad, I have to adapt to the characteristics of the squad. I can’t think of revolutionising an entire set of players.

“The objective over the next two months is to make Douglas Costa an important figure behind the strikers. He can change the balance of a game there.”

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