Sarri: ‘Excellent first 30 minutes’

by | Jun 12, 2020 22:48

Maurizio Sarri was ‘surprised and satisfied with the opening 30 minutes’ from Juventus, but they gradually ‘faded away’ in a 0-0 Coppa Italia draw with Milan.

The Bianconeri reached the Coppa Italia Final against Napoli or Inter, to be played in Rome on June 17, thanks to away goals and the 1-1 first leg result, as they were held 0-0 by a Milan side down to 10 men for over an hour.

Maurizio Sarri was ‘surprised and satisfied with the opening 30 minutes’ from Juventus, but they gradually ‘faded away’ in a 0-0 Coppa Italia draw with Milan.

The Bianconeri reached the Coppa Italia Final against Napoli or Inter, to be played in Rome on June 17, thanks to away goals and the 1-1 first leg result, as they were held 0-0 by a Milan side down to 10 men for over an hour.

Cristiano Ronaldo had the chance to score moments earlier, but fired his penalty on to the base of the upright. It was the second spot-kick CR7 had missed in a Juve jersey, after Chievo in January 2019.

“Clearly after three months, getting back to the touchline and seeing the teams out there is a good sensation, even if it’s not the same without the fans,” the coach told Rai Sport.

“I was very surprised and satisfied with our opening 30 minutes, as we moved the ball so quickly and totally dominated the game, even before the red card.

“After that, we slowly dropped our tempo, intensity and mental determination, but that is a risk in an empty stadium. We had been doing so well, playing one and two-touch football, but then we slowed down and lost some sharpness, focused more on individual moves and taking two touches.

“The positive is that we didn’t allow the opponents to play at all. It’s going to take a while to get the fitness and mentality back to 100 per cent. If you compare it to a pre-season game, it’d be early July, but this is worse than pre-season, because it was a much longer break.

“It’ll take some patience, but the first 30 minutes I saw today was an excellent sign.”

This was the first time that Douglas Costa, Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala started together in the Juventus jersey, but they dominated possession without breaking through.

“I asked Ronaldo to take a more central role, he was pleased to try it out and he played the game he needed to at this moment. He probably isn’t accustomed to missing a penalty, so hitting the inside of the post it could go anywhere and he was unlucky.

“I don’t think playing him a few metres more one way or another is going to make a huge difference to such a strong player. Everyone had a strong opening 30 minutes and then faded away.”

There are five substitutions available during this strange extended season, in both Serie A and the Coppa Italia, but Sarri confessed to some regrets.

“I made a stupid mistake. I got swept up in the enthusiasm of having five substitutions, but making three at once was a big risk and at that moment we lost our hold on the game. I evidently ought to spread the changes out more.

“I substituted Douglas Costa out of fear that he’d get hurt, but when I took him off, he still seemed one of the sharpest. He’s a player who can make the difference when fit.”

Sarri was asked if he’d prefer to face Napoli or Inter in the Coppa Italia Final on June 17.

“The important thing is that we are in the Final, then tomorrow we’ll see. Napoli, like us, have lost the home advantage because it’s in an empty stadium. The first leg result might be a slight advantage for Inter, but in truth it’s pretty open still.”

Napoli won the first leg 1-0 at San Siro and the decider is on Saturday evening at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).

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