Maurizio Sarri believes that Juventus, and especially Federico Bernardeschi and Matthijs de Ligt, facing criticism is unfair. Instead, he is pleased with Bologna’s response.
Following their two goalless Coppa Italia draws with Milan and Napoli, the Bianconeri had come under fire.
However, they got back on track with the 2-0 Serie A win at the Dall’Ara this evening. Bernardeschi and de Ligt were criticized on their behaviour on the pitch, though.
After Stefano Denswil had a fistful of Matthijs de Ligt’s jersey, Cristiano Ronaldo scored withh a penalty.
Then, Paulo Dybala also scored in a sensational solo effort.
Federico Bernardeschi produced a back-heel flip to the assist for Dybala, and he also saw his shot fingertip to the far post.
“We were sharper physically tonight, as we kept up the tempo and intensity for 70 minutes, whereas in the Coppa we fell away after 20-30 minutes,” Sarri told.
“We had many chances to kill off the game at 3-0, but our energy ran out towards the end and we had to sit a little deeper. It’s not a philosophical or tactical decision, it’s physiological when the fuel runs low.”
About Bernardeschi, Sarri commented, “Fede had done well in his last two substitute appearances, so he gave the impression that he was in good shape. He did well defensively as well as attacking, so I’m pleased for him. He is a lad who is often over-criticised and under-valued.”
Also, De Ligt was brought down for the penalty, but he too managed to clear up dangerous situations well:
“Matthijs has become more accustomed to our style of Italian football. He came from Holland, where they didn’t spend much time analysing defending, but he has adapted much faster to Serie A than many other foreign players who came here at his age.
“He’s destined for greatness and will certainly become one of the best defenders in Europe.”
Fans and pundits have strongly criticized Sarri, but he maintains that it is not viable to simply rely on the star strikers:
“Having top-level individual players means they can resolve the game for you at times, but we need to put the whole team in a situation where they can give their best, but also that we can continue working when the star names are either absent or off form. It’s inevitable they will have some days when they’re not as sharp, we need other options.”
Meanwhile, after the match, Leonardo Bonucci said that after the recent losses, Juventus had an intense debate behind closed doors.
“In football and in life there are opinions and there are facts. If you listened to the opinions, you’d think this team was falling to pieces. If you look at the facts, we’re top of the table,” added Sarri. “The criticism was excessive and that can act as motivation for us to get back in shape mentally even more than physically, which might take a little longer.”