Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri insists “it’s motivating to be in a title race to the very end” with Inter and Lazio, so Brescia cannot be taken for granted, as he replies to Jurgen Klopp's suggestion.
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“It was clear from the very start that this would be a different type of season. I think it’s motivating to be in a title race to the very end, so I feel we have to feed from this situation,” said the coach in his press conference.
Inter and Lazio go head-to-head on Sunday evening, so will that be the decisive moment for the Scudetto?
“No single match is decisive. We just have to focus on ourselves and picking up as many points as possible.”
Sarri complained after the Coppa Italia semi-final draw with Milan that they had been too passive and isolated Cristiano Ronaldo, but he insists it is not a tactical issue.
“You resolve passivity by being far more aggressive. There is no defensive system that can work without an aggressive attitude. We’re not passive constantly, but there are moments during a match when we lose intensity and have to work on that.
“Watching the Milan game back in the Coppa Italia, we did play out well from their initial press, but then left the strikers too isolated upfront. Compared to the previous game at Verona, I saw significant steps forward until we got to the final third and then it just stopped.
“Paulo Dybala went a little deeper than usual, but watching the game back, he did well to free himself from the press, although clearly that also meant he couldn’t support Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Aaron Ramsey was moved from a trequartista role into midfield, while Juan Cuadrado became part of the trident attack in a 4-3-3.
“Theo Hernandez could’ve been a real thorn in our side, so we chose an option that put Ramsey in the role that he ultimately prefers.”
Jurgen Klopp told The Guardian this morning that Juventus are the Champions League favourites and he “can’t understand” why they are not 10 points clear at the top of Serie A.
“Jurgen also said that he doesn’t watch much Italian football, so that explains his confusion! Jurgen is one of the smartest and funniest people I’ve ever known and what he’s doing here is shaking off the burden of being the favourites,” smiled Sarri.
“Brescia have done far better on their travels than at home, they are not easy to face, especially when they are away. No game is easy at this stage of the season, they don’t exist and the campaign just gets tougher in the second half, as more teams are getting settled into their rhythm.
“We also see mid-table teams no longer just stop playing in the final weeks, which they used to do a few years ago.”
Manchester City have been banned from Europe for the next two seasons for Financial Fair Play violations, so does Sarri believe Pep Guardiola and star names will now abandon the club?
“I went to Chelsea last season and they weren’t in the Champions League. I was happy to do it. Mind you, this is also the first stage of the process, there will be appeals and we’ll see what the definitive verdict is, but there are situations where a coach can look beyond those limitations.”
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