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Sarri still unclear about handball rules, doesn’t like VAR

Manager’s comments ahead of local derby this weekend

Juventus Press Conference Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

Juventus play Torino in their biannual Derby della Mole on Saturday, but the main talking point after the midweek round of matches has been refereeing, with a number of controversial decisions made by the refs who then refused to review using VAR.

In his pre-match press conference, manager Maurizio Sarri spoke in favour of the refs continuing to remain independent, before voicing his dissatisfaction with VAR and the new rules in general.

“I prefer when the officials control the game on the pitch. Not all situations need to be communicated. When there is a handball, I still haven’t been able to grasp the rules.

“Also, in everyday life there are absurd rules and we need to adapt to them. I say I don’t like it, it was born to identify macroscopic errors, now it is used three or four-times a game. They have a more limited use of it abroad.”

This will be Sarri’s first local derby with Juventus, and how has been preparing?

“It’s a historical match on its own, no matter at what stage we are at in the season. I think we will be facing a highly-charged Torino as it is a very important derby for them.

“It’s very important to keep the match on our tracks, sometimes it’s possible and sometimes not. I will say that it will be important we control the match tomorrow and keep it on our terms.

“A derby is never a normal match. Right now, every match is important. I hope it will help us prevent becoming mentally tired. In London the derby is felt in a different manner, I will try to live this one in the best possible way.”

Miralem Pjanic missed the midweek win over Genoa, but will he be back for tomorrow?

“I don’t know, yesterday he was training alone. He was in a meeting with the medical department, I don’t know if he can play tomorrow. Aaron Ramsey looks good, at least in training.”

Questions about using the trio of Gonzalo Higuain, Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala usually follow Sarri around.

“Higuain is a great player. Last summer I saw him highly motivated, but in London I was less pleased. When he is motivated, he is a very important player.

“Ronaldo prefers to operate on the centre-left, on the centre-right, but neither of them are wide forwards so a pure front three with them isn’t suitable.”

No talk of the Torino side is ever without a mention of the infamous Superga plane crash that wiped out a golden generation of players.

“I came with Napoli and Empoli in the month of May, I felt it was my duty to go and pay tribute to legends of the sport [the Grande Torino team who died in the plane crash].

“I gladly did. I felt it was obligatory because the Grande Torino side are legendary in Italian football.”