Sunday January 3 2021
Pirlo: 'Not the best Juventus'

Andrea Pirlo admits this was ‘not the best Juventus’ of the season, but a 4-1 win over Udinese allowed them to shake off the Fiorentina debacle and prepare for Milan.

The Bianconeri started 2021 on the right foot with a 4-1 victory over Udinese, as Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a brace, set up another for Federico Chiesa, before Paulo Dybala netted late on.

It wasn’t an entirely perfect performance, though, as Udinese had an early goal controversially disallowed and hit the woodwork twice before Marvin Zeegelaar’s strike.

“It wasn’t the best Juventus, as we were coming off a bad defeat to Fiorentina, so started quite timid and nervous, especially when their forwards ran towards us. We gained more confidence as it went on,” Pirlo told DAZN.

“I was not satisfied with the initial approach to the game, as we were still feeling the fear of our last defeat to Fiorentina. The timing of the movements weren’t right, especially on the wings.

“We knew that Udinese would try to sit back, counter and wait for our mistakes, but we did well with the preventative marking to ensure they couldn’t do that.”

There was a hug of almost relief between Pirlo and Dybala after the final whistle.

“We need Dybala, he needs us. He worked very well during the week in training, we could tell during the match that he was in better physical condition and we kept him on to the end because we hoped he would score that goal.”

Chiesa was also on target and became stronger as the game went on this evening.

“When we defend, he needs to stay more central. With Paulo there, he can attack with more width and create the space for the other midfielders to push up as well.”

Aaron Ramsey had the ball in the net, but it was disallowed for a handling offence.

“When he’s in good shape, Aaron is a very important player. He’s intelligent, he knows which positions to find on the pitch. Unfortunately, he had so many problems in recent years that he needs a lot of rest between games.

“We’ll see what the situation is with Alvaro Morata and if he can play on Wednesday, but I doubt it.”

Pirlo was asked about the showdown he had with his squad after the 3-0 home defeat to Fiorentina.

“It was a conversation. I spoke, so did the players, we discussed the delicate moment and having faith in what we’re doing every day in training, which has to be accompanied by determination and intensity.”

The Juventus coach was asked about possible reinforcements over the January transfer window, particularly upfront, where Alvaro Morata has no real alternative.

“The window opens tomorrow, we already discussed with the club what we want to do and if there are any opportunities. We hope to do something over the next few days.”

Would Pirlo like Olivier Giroud from Chelsea?

“He’d be handy!”

Milan are top of the table and go head-to-head with Juventus on Wednesday in a game that could be a title decider.

“I went to visit Stefano Pioli and see some of his training sessions last season, as I admire him as a coach and was curious to see what he was doing there. He’s reaping the rewards of that work now.”