Sunday June 21 2020
Sarri: 'Ronaldo prefers wider role'

Maurizio Sarri confirms Cristiano Ronaldo asked to play in a wider role for Juventus, but he tries to put the Coppa Italia disappointment aside for the trip to Bologna.

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The pressure is already piling on after their Coppa Italia Final defeat to Napoli on penalties, the second trophy they’ve failed to win after the Italian Supercup in December.

“Losing a trophy is always painful, but this is the situation and we mustn’t beat ourselves up,” Sarri told Sky Sport Italia.

“I asked the players not to let themselves get distracted by anything or think of what might’ve been, because what’s done is done. It was inevitably going to be difficult after being away for 70 days, losing sharpness, fitness and acceleration. Nothing in this situation is normal and there were no precedents, we didn’t even have friendlies.

“The lack of goals could well be an issue of general sharpness, as we keep the ball for long periods and control the game, but can’t finish our chances. Considering the quality in the squad, I cannot imagine we’ll struggle in front of goal for long.”

Cristiano Ronaldo was temporarily moved into a centre-forward role, but didn’t stay there for long, something Sarri concedes is probably for the best.

“We talked before the Coppa Italia games with Milan and Napoli, and again yesterday. He scored 700 goals by starting slightly wide of centre, that’s his preference and that is normal.

“I called the three lads to me and talked to them about what we ought to do in the Final. Analysing it with them, we decided to try with Paulo Dybala in a more central position.

“I spoke with Ronaldo for a long time yesterday and I hope that from tomorrow, at most in a week, he’ll get back to being the usual fantastic player we know. It’s just that he’s not physically at his best right now.”

Gonzalo Higuain is still out of action, so the Juventus coach has “limited options. We’ve got solutions on the wings like Federico Bernardeschi or moving Juan Cuadrado, but fitness levels are going to be more important than anything else in my choices right now.”

Juve are visiting Bologna, who can still burst into the race for European football under Sinisa Mihajlovic.

“There are dangers in every match, especially as we begin the restart. Bologna were playing good football this season, dangerous on the counter-attack, so we’ll be on our toes.

“I am really curious to see the first three to four games, as there are big risks for all concerned and we could see some surprising situations.”

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