Tuesday March 2 2021
Pirlo missing Juventus options

Andrea Pirlo wishes he ‘had more’ options to come off the bench and shake things up after his substitutions transformed Juventus against Spezia.

It was a difficult struggle for an hour, much like the 4-1 win back in November, which was transformed by the substitutions.

Federico Bernardeschi immediately provided the assist for Alvaro Morata, then set up Federico Chiesa’s goal, before Cristiano Ronaldo sealed it on the counter-attack.

Spezia had a late penalty, but Wojciech Szczesny parried Andriy Galabinov’s spot-kick.

“A slow start was more physical fatigue than psychological, which can happen when you have so many games with the same players,” Pirlo told Sky Sport Italia.

“We tried to control the game and then when the fresh legs came on, we were sharper and able to make the most of our chances.

“It was important to push forward from midfield and attack the spaces more. We aim to create one-on-one situations down the wings and then put the ball into the box, where we have players who can do damage. Sometimes it’s the wingers and sometimes the full-backs.

“Bernardeschi has what it takes to be a full-back, he has good stamina, can cross and has been working on this role, although obviously he needs to improve defensively.

“We have a great squad, unfortunately I haven’t been able to make as many changes as I wanted lately. We could do with more for squad rotation and to freshen things up with targeted changes during a game.”

Morata has been struggling with a viral infection that left him feeling debilitated and even faint, but he immediately made a difference off the bench and proved Pirlo’s side need a centre-forward.

“Morata is the player we wanted for his characteristics, as he can attack the space, score goals, but also play with the team. He has been missing lately unfortunately, but hopefully he can quickly get back to full fitness.

“Hopefully, some others can start to come back over the next few days. We lost Matthijs De Ligt too, as he had this knock on his calf against Verona and felt it harden during the warm-up. It shouldn’t be anything serious, we’ll have more tests tomorrow.

“Weston McKennie is not at his best either, you can see the way he runs and his passes, that he is struggling with this pain. He can manage at most 45-60 minutes.”

Pirlo was asked if he can bridge the gap that divides Juventus from Inter right now.

“The gap is just the points that separate us. We know it will be a long chase, Inter have been playing together for two years, they have a well-drilled approach, whereas we just started this season. We still intend to be there right to the end.”