Sunday October 25 2020
Pirlo: 'Juve shouldn't need slap to wake up'

Andrea Pirlo warns Juventus ‘shouldn’t need a slap in the face to wake up and play with intensity’ after their 1-1 draw with Hellas Verona.

The fact remains, the Bianconeri have won only one Serie A match on the field this season, their first 3-0 against Sampdoria.

They drew with Roma, Crotone and Verona, while the Napoli fixture was handed to them 3-0 after it was cancelled.

“Our first half wasn’t aggressive enough, we waited for them, and yet we created the best chances,” Pirlo told Sky Sport Italia.

“We reacted well after they took the lead, but we shouldn’t need a slap in the face to wake up and play with intensity.

“When you play against Verona or Atalanta, it’s difficult because they take you one-on-one all over the field and create many duels. We worked to avoid their high press and that worked better in the second half. It’s tough against them, we could’ve done better.

“Arthur did very well controlling the ball and lasted the full 90 minutes, but he too can improve, as everyone can.

“We knew this would be more difficult than in Kiev, as Verona have this intensity. We worked in training on the press and dealing with one against one situations.

“We shouldn’t need a slap in the face to wake up, we ought to start with intensity and continue from there.”

Pirlo was asked about his choices, which had Paulo Dybala in his first start for three months, but Dejan Kulusevski came off the bench to score the equaliser.

“Kulusevski was rested because he had played seven in a row and was the only real option we had off the bench. We didn’t expect Dybala to stay out there for 90 minutes, but we worked hard and put himself about.”

How do Juventus plan to set out their attack when Cristiano Ronaldo returns from his COVID-19 quarantine?

“We can play Ronaldo with Morata or with Dybala, depending on the characteristics. Ronaldo’s classic position is to start slightly left and cut inside. Dybala and Kulusevski can do that too.

“We didn’t have the width provided by (suspended Federico) Chiesa today, so we tried to get Federico Bernardeschi back in shape, as he hadn’t played for a while.

“Positions are interchangeable during a game, the important thing is to move within certain zones to create problems for the opposition defence.”

There was another big loss when Leonardo Bonucci pulled up with a suspected thigh problem, joining Giorgio Chiellini on the treatment table just days before the Champions League showdown with Barcelona.

“Bonucci already felt something in the game against Kiev, it flared up again tonight, so we’ll evaluate tomorrow.”