Sarri: Juventus criticism was excessive

By Sports Desk June 22, 2020

Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri said criticism of the Serie A champions was "excessive" after his team resumed their league campaign in winning fashion.

Juve marked their return to Serie A action following the coronavirus-enforced break with a 2-0 victory over Bologna at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on Monday.

The spotlight had been on Juve after their penalty shoot-out defeat to Napoli in the Coppa Italia final last week – pressure building on Sarri and the Italian giants.

But first-half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala ensured Juve bounced back to move four points clear of second-placed Lazio, who have a game in hand against Atalanta on Wednesday.

"In football and in life there are opinions and there are facts," Sarri told Sky Sport Italia following Juve's first top-flight fixture since March 8.

"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.

"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."

"Having top level individual players means they can resolve the game for you at times," said Sarri, who had substitute full-back Danilo sent off in stoppage time.

"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."

Sarri added: "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."

Juve welcome lowly Lecce to Turin on Friday.

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Juve could swap Dybala for PSG's Icardi Rumour Has It: Juve could swap Dybala for PSG's Icardi

    Paulo Dybala to Paris Saint-Germain?

    Dybala, previously linked to Manchester United, Tottenham and PSG, is reportedly facing an uncertain future in Turin.

    Juventus could be prepared to exchange players with PSG.

     

    TOP STORY – DYBALA OUT, ICARDI IN?

    Juventus are considering a swap deal that would send Paulo Dybala to Paris Saint-Germain in exchange for Mauro Icardi, according to Calciomercato.

    Dybala has struggled for form in 2020-21, while contract negotiations with Serie A champions Juve have so far proved fruitless.

    Icardi was linked to Juve prior to joining Ligue 1 holders PSG permanently from Inter and the Argentina forward could swap clubs with Dybala.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - TodoFichajes says Arsenal are set to make an offer for RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. Leipzig centre-back and team-mate Dayot Upamecano has dominated headlines amid links to the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but Konate is also attracting interest.

    Juve are eyeing a move for Atletico Madrid centre-back Stefan Savic, reports Calciomercato. Savic has also been linked to Inter.

    - A Bola claims Premier League champions Liverpool are interested in signing Sporting CP left-back Nuno Mendes.

    Raul Jimenez to Inter? Calciomercato says Inter could replace Lautaro Martinez with the Wolves star. Martinez has been linked to Barca and Manchester City.

  • Inter favourites to win Scudetto, says Napoli boss Gattuso Inter favourites to win Scudetto, says Napoli boss Gattuso

    Napoli head coach Gennaro Gattuso believes Inter are favourites to win Serie A this season, ahead of current leaders Milan and defending champions Juventus.

    Milan – without a Scudetto since 2010-11 – top the table by five points through nine matchdays after defeating Fiorentina 2-0 on Sunday to remain unbeaten.

    City rivals Inter and Sassuolo are five points off the pace, while Andrea Pirlo's Juve are fourth and a point further back, along with Napoli and Roma.

    Gattuso considers Antonio Conte's Inter title favourites following Napoli's 4-0 rout of Roma on Sunday, telling Sky Sport Italia: "In my view, Inter are the team to beat.

    "They combine quality with physical strength, they have so many options available and they are the favourites.

    "Then there's Juventus, who are accustomed to being up there."

    Napoli played their first Serie A match since the death of club great Diego Maradona on Wednesday and it was an emotional occasion at the Stadio San Paolo, where captain Lorenzo Insigne, Fabian Ruiz, all-time leading scorer Dries Mertens and Matteo Politano were on target.

    The Partenopei equalled their largest margin of victory against Roma in Serie A, having also routed the capital club 4-0 in 1980 and 1971.

    Napoli – who moved up to fifth position in Serie A, six points adrift of Milan – earned their fourth win from five games across all competitions.

    Gattuso earned his 50th career victory as a coach in the Italian top flight, while becoming the first Napoli boss to win his first two Serie A encounters against Roma.

    "We have to play with this intensity in every single game, with this atmosphere on the team bus, in the dressing room, throughout the match. Take nothing for granted," Gattuso said.

    "What I liked was the attitude today. When there was an error from a team-mate, they helped each other out, applauded rather than telling them to go f*** themselves, that's what I like to see.

    "Perhaps it's my fault, because in order to not stress the players out, I let things go, I go easy. Now I realise I can never let anything go and I can't afford to go easy on them. Times have changed.

    "We know that with the fixture list as packed as it is, we can't always be at 100 per cent in every single game. But that's why mentality is so important, because it can allow you to push through difficulties, to keep going and raise the bar. I see the mentality as the issue here, we need to find the balance of playing good football, but as a team."

  • Diego Maradona dies: It hurts and we cared more than ever against Roma – Napoli's Insigne Diego Maradona dies: It hurts and we cared more than ever against Roma – Napoli's Insigne

    Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne said Diego Maradona's death hurts as the city suffers after the Serie A side donned Argentina-style shirts to honour the club great in their 4-0 rout of rivals Roma.

    Maradona – arguably football's greatest ever player who led Napoli to their only Scudetto honours in 1987 and 1990 – died of natural causes at the age of 60 on Wednesday.

    After beating Rijeka in the Europa League on Thursday, Napoli played their first Serie A match since Maradona's passing on Sunday and it was an emotional occasion at the Stadio San Paolo.

    Napoli sported a Maradona-themed jersey, which consisted of light blue and white stripes instead of the iconic all-blue shirt and it proved an inspirational strip as the Partenopei equalled their largest margin of victory against Roma in Serie A, having also routed the capital club 4-0 in 1980 and 1971.

    Insigne – born and bred in Naples – opened the scoring with a free-kick on the half-hour mark before reaching for a Maradona shirt and kissing it as he celebrated.

    Fabian Ruiz, Napoli's all-time leading goalscorer Dries Mertens and Matteo Politano were also on target.

    "The atmosphere certainly gave us extra motivation, as we wanted to pay homage to our idol," Insigne, the only player since 2012-13 to score at least one goal and assist at least one in each of the past nine seasons, told Sky Sport Italia.

    "It hurts and we cared more than ever tonight to put in a great performance for him and the city that is suffering."

    Napoli moved up to fifth position in Serie A, six points adrift of unbeaten leaders Milan.

    Gennaro Gattuso also earned his 50th career victory as a head coach in the Italian top flight, while becoming the first Napoli boss to win his first two Serie A encounters against Roma.

    "There is a sense of sadness, but at this moment I think the city must also show common sense," Gattuso said. "I am seeing too many people going around without their masks.

    "Maradona is a legend, everyone knows that, and I understand the desire to express that affection, but I hope from tomorrow the city will get back to being sensible, or we'll all pay the consequences later."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.