Saturday February 8 2020
Sarri: 'Superficial Juventus must change'

Maurizio Sarri confessed Juventus “have a problem we absolutely need to resolve, as we keep throwing points away with a superficial attitude” after defeat to Hellas Verona.

The Bianconeri suffered their third Serie A defeat of the season after Lazio and Napoli, but above all had taken the lead through Cristiano Ronaldo only to fall apart in 10 minutes.

Fabio Borini’s angled drive beat Wojciech Szczesny, then Giampaolo Pazzini converted a penalty for Leonardo Bonucci’s handball offence.

A problem is evidently developing, because Juve have now lost three of their last five Serie A away fixtures.

“Evidently we have different performances and results when comparing home form to away. It was a difficult game, we knew it would be and that Verona would make us suffer early on,” Sarri told DAZN.

“We held out well, hit the woodwork twice, took the lead, but cannot drop points with such soft errors. The first goal was inexplicable, if we want Juventus to win games, we cannot keep making errors caused by a superficial attitude.

“Verona deserve absolute credit, as they were aggressive from start to finish and we knew they would be. We were aware that it was important to hold out for the opening 25 minutes, that we’d then have our chances.

“We did all that, but then threw the points away with superficiality and it’s a habit we absolutely need to get rid of.”

Sarri assured this was not an issue of fitness levels, but rather one of focus that has seen Juventus repeatedly concede within 10 minutes of going in front.

“The mind is the most important thing, because if that is detached then you won’t be on the mark tactically. If you mind is also not at 100 per cent, then the physique won’t follow.

“What we need to realise is that winning is not to be taken for granted. We have to work harder, get dirty when we need to and not rest on our laurels.

“Verona deserve immense credit for the first half-hour, but we deserve the blame for the final half-hour. They showed great intensity and we simply did not.”

Sarri seemed to suggest that Juventus were sated after eight consecutive Serie A titles, not realising Inter and Lazio were fired up and ready to push them much harder.

“This team is accustomed to winning comfortably in recent years and we have to get it into our heads that we can’t afford to waste points.

“I hope the lesson will be learned, because we’ve been discussing it for some time. It’s difficult, because the team trains well, but then can’t bring out its full potential during a match situation. We have got to resolve this situation.”

Gonzalo Higuain was replaced by Paulo Dybala on the hour mark, so Sarri was asked about the change.

“The sensation from the bench was that spaces were opening up, so the idea was to make the most of these enormous spaces not just for the centre-forward, but for the others too.”