Sarri: ‘Dybala had back problem’

by | Jul 20, 2020 23:35

Maurizio Sarri reveals why Paulo Dybala wasn’t going to start against Lazio, what makes Cristiano Ronaldo world class and his career path. ‘Becoming a great European coach was not my intention.’

Cristiano Ronaldo broke the deadlock with a penalty after Bastos charged down a shot with his arm right on the edge of the area, then made the most of a Paulo Dybala assist from disastrous Luiz Felipe error.

Maurizio Sarri reveals why Paulo Dybala wasn’t going to start against Lazio, what makes Cristiano Ronaldo world class and his career path. ‘Becoming a great European coach was not my intention.’

Cristiano Ronaldo broke the deadlock with a penalty after Bastos charged down a shot with his arm right on the edge of the area, then made the most of a Paulo Dybala assist from disastrous Luiz Felipe error.

Ciro Immobile hit the upright and also converted a spot-kick to set up a tense finale in Turin, but the Bianconeri emerged 2-1 winners.

The result means Juventus are now eight points clear of Inter, with a superior head-to-head record, and only four rounds still to play.

“As I’ve always said, talking about an opportunity to win is like a chance to score a goal. It means nothing unless the objective is achieved. We need to get another four points, every point is difficult at the moment playing every three days, so we’ve got to keep focused,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“There are ifs and buts, but at the first if, that’s when I stop listening!”

Cristiano Ronaldo took his tally up to 30 goals in Serie A this season, the first Juventus player to achieve that since the 1950s.

“When Cristiano smells blood… He’s extraordinary, as he recovers so quickly between games. It’s not just physical, but psychological. He could be someone who uses up so much energy in each game, but he recovers it every time and he’s world class in the mind as well as the legs.”

Can Ronaldo beat the all-time Serie A record of 36 goals, set by Gonzalo Higuain in Sarri’s Napoli team?

“If he puts his mind to something, he’s very difficult to stop. We’ll see if we should rest him over the next few rounds, but if he’s still in this shape, then he might not need it.”

Higuain was originally in the starting XI this evening, to everyone’s surprise, but pulled out in the warm-up to make way for Dybala. What caused that decision?

“Dybala had this back pain in training yesterday and that’s why he wasn’t going to start. Gonzalo then had the same problem today during the warm-up and Paulo was feeling better, so we had to risk him. We’ve got a few issues upfront at the moment.

“Sometimes we change depending on whether it’s better to spread the opposition defence or go straight through, but it mainly depends on who is in the best shape or needs a rest.”

The Bianconeri have scored at least two goals in each of their last 11 Serie A games, something Juventus had never done before.

“We have conceded more goals, but many of them were penalties. We conceded many by getting relaxed when we were clearly in charge. I frankly doubt we’ll have that kind of experience in the Champions League, as there’s no way we could lose concentration there.

“It has been such a strange campaign, we’ll see in Europe some who haven’t played for months, others who have played every three days going in. The lockdown was not a relaxing one for anyone, sitting in our homes listening to the sound of ambulances go past constantly.

“We have to focus on the Round of 16 to reach the Final Eight, which is already a very important achievement. Anyway, before that, we have to finish this Serie A season with the points we need to win, then get ready for another difficult situation.”

Sarri is on the verge of winning his first league title, having until now won only the Europa League with Chelsea, having given up his job in banking to follow his passion in football with 17 clubs from 1990 until coming to Napoli.

“I didn’t stop my job because I thought of becoming a great European coach. I left the bank because I was bored and had this passion, hoping to make a living out of that passion.

“Sometimes in a career, you can be in the right place at the right time, so you do more than you ever intended. The original intention was just to live my life doing something I loved.”

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