Pirlo 'won't step aside' as Juve boss remains defiant despite dismal defeat to Milan

By Sports Desk May 09, 2021

Andrea Pirlo has no intention of resigning as Juventus head coach after the Bianconeri's hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League suffered a significant blow on Sunday. 

Juve slumped to a resounding 3-0 home defeat to Italian rivals Milan as they slipped to fifth in Serie A with just three league games remaining in the race for the top four.

It was the first time Juve had been beaten at home by the Rossoneri since March 2011, while it marked the first time they had conceded three goals at home to Milan since January 2010. 

Pirlo has endured a dismal first season in charge of Juve after replacing Maurizio Sarri. Not only did they relinquish their nine-season stranglehold on the Serie A title to Inter, but they were dumped out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage by Porto. 

While the decision could yet be taken out of his hands, first-year boss Pirlo insisted he has no plans to step down from his role.

"No, I won't step aside," he told Sky Sport Italia. "I took this role with a great deal of enthusiasm amid certain difficulties. 

"I am at the disposal of the club. There are still three games to go, so I will continue doing my work as long as I am allowed to."

Brahim Diaz, Ante Rebic and Fikayo Tomori were on target for a dominant Milan, who could even afford the luxury of a missed Franck Kessie penalty with the score at 1-0. 

Juve have now conceded in each of their last 11 league games – their worst streak since April 2010. 

While Pirlo accepted responsibility for his side's failings this season, he suggested he was not given what he was promised by the club.  

"I had a different project in my mind and thought I would have a different group at my disposal," Pirlo added. 

"I had been working on some concepts, but then I had to make changes in order to suit their characteristics and had to adapt."

Asked if his side are resistant to change, he said: "It's not that this team is resistant to change, but if you have some things in your mind and they become more difficult with certain players.

"If I cannot get the best out of these players, that is my fault and I certainly need to do better.

"If something didn't go right, I take responsibility. This squad is made up of great players, clearly something did not work."

Juve have the chance to return to winning ways when they travel to Sassuolo on Wednesday.

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    JFF President Michael Ricketts, in an interview with Sportsmax.TV early Thursday, provided insight into the selection process and the circumstances surrounding Bailey's inclusion. The president explained that no player is selected for national duty until there is dialogue with the player’s club or representatives.

    According to Ricketts, the situation stemmed from complex interactions between the JFF, Bailey, and his father and agent, Craig Butler. Butler, he said, had attempted to negotiate Bailey's availability for the national team by seeking the selection of players from his Phoenix Academy for both the national senior team and the national U20 team.

    "We don’t speak with the players; we speak with the player's club or the player's agent. In this case, (Craig) Butler, got in contact with the General Secretary Dennis Chung,” Ricketts said.  “He wanted other players [from Phoenix Academy] in the U20 squad and he wants players in the senior team in exchange for Bailey. The General Secretary told him no, I can’t deal with that."

    The president explained that the general secretary does not play a role in team selection, that is the responsibility of the coaching staff.

    Ricketts noted that following his conversation with Chung, Butler then placed a call to Coach Heimir Hallgrimsson and during their conversation assured him that Bailey would not be available for Jamaica’s game against Mexico but would be available for the second and third group-stage games of the Copa America. Consequently, the coach decided to include Bailey in the squad based on this assurance.

    Ricketts said he is unaware of any other matters that arose between Butler and the Reggae Boyz head coach.

    "Having told the coach that Bailey would be available for the second and third games, the coach named Bailey as part of the squad," Ricketts stated.

    Bailey, who has been suspended since the November international break for breaking curfew, had not featured in Jamaica's recent matches, including the 2026 World Cup qualifiers against the Dominican Republic and Dominica earlier this month. Following his suspension, Bailey announced on a podcast that he was taking a break from international football.

    On social media Wednesday, Butler reiterated Bailey’s stance, stating that posts suggesting Bailey’s willingness to participate in the Copa America were misleading. "Posts made on social media that are surfacing at this time is a misrepresentation of his position," Butler wrote. "We wish the Reggae Boyz well in the Copa America competition and he, along with his management team, will continue to support the Jamaica National Team at all levels … change must come…Respect and One Love for all."

    The squad was announced at Tracks and Records in Kingston on Wednesday evening when Coach Hallgrimsson told media that discussions between Butler and the JFF had gone well, indicating that several issues of concern were addressed, which presumably led him to believe that the player was available for selection.

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    President Ricketts emphasized the importance of moving forward regardless of the situation. "The show must go on," he declared, underlining the need for the team to remain focused amid the ongoing controversy.

    Several calls made to JFF General Secretary went unanswered.

     

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    The 25-year-old made 23 Premier League appearances for Andoni Iraola's side last season, keeping four clean sheets, including one against the Magpies back in November.

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    As the Three Lions' all-time top-scorer with 63 goals, Kane is set to be one of their key men once more, but he believes the team have earned the right to be labelled as one of the favourites.

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    After their opening fixture, England will play Denmark and Slovenia in their other group games.

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