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Sarri: Juve showed a lack of determination and clinical edge

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Manager’s comments after disappointing 1-1 draw away at Lecce

US Lecce v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

Juventus threw away a second half lead to draw 1-1 away at a battling Lecce, dropping two points in the process.

Striker Gonzalo Higuain was hit in the forehead late in the game by goalkeeper Gabriel coming out for a corner, and though he returned to action after a few minutes, he looked to have passed out after the final whistle and was taken to the hospital.

Speaking after the game, manager Maurizio Sarri allayed concerns about the striker.

“Gonzalo is having stitches, then they’ll decide whether to take him to the hospital. He is conscious, answering questions in a clear way.”

Regarding the game itself, Sarri was disappointed that Juve were not able to keep a firm grip on proceedings.

“At the end, we got ourselves get swept up in a battle that was not our style. We created many scoring opportunities and didn’t take them, so there was a lack of determination and clinical edge. We also didn’t control our lead well at all, so I didn’t like any of that.”

Cristiano Ronaldo was rested for this game and the Bianconeri looked like they could have used his abilities in the attacking half.

“Cristiano Ronaldo was tired both physically and mentally, so it wouldn’t have helped him to make this journey and sit there. When a player expresses his fatigue, it was only right to give him a rest.

“The fact remains, we created 10 scoring opportunities and didn’t finish them. I think we took it a bit easy in our finishing and after we took the lead, acting almost as if it was natural we’d win.

“I don’t know if we were superficial as such, but we weren’t as determined as we could’ve been. We shouldn’t think that just because we create lots of chances, we’ll automatically score and win.”

Young defender Matthijs De Ligt continues to have problems in defence, and gave away the penalty via a handball that gave the hosts the chance to equalize.

“Seeing the incident from the bench today, I think it wasn’t exactly on purpose. His arm was close to his body and it took a deflection, but with the new rules, it is difficult for defenders to avoid the ball.”

Midfielder Miralem Pjanic left the game with what looked like a muscle issue, but Sarri felt Rodrigo Bentancur was well-placed to step in for him.

“Bentancur has all the characteristics to play in that role. Obviously, he doesn’t have the same experience as Pjanic, but he can have his say.”

The defence continues to be the weak point of this Juve team.

“Most of the goals we conceded have been on set plays, including penalties. We’re not allowing much to come through in open play, but we do need to be wary of the dangers in our box.”

Inter Milan could go back top of the table with a win over Parma, but Sarri seemed nonchalant.

“There are so many games to go and points up for grabs, I think looking at the table now would be not just futile, but also damaging.”