Maurizio Sarri marked his first official game in person in the Juventus dugout with a scoreless draw away at previously-struggling Fiorentina.
Juve put in an error-strewn performance at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, and came up against a resilient home side determined to turn their season around, and in some ways can be considered lucky to come away with a draw.
Speaking after the game, Sarri did not mince his words.
“We didn’t put in a good quality performance, it was a very complicated situation, as Fiorentina played well and we used up all our substitutions with injuries and had no more fresh legs to introduce.
“With all those variables, we did well in terms of character to get a point out of it. We lost possession too many times, which may also be a consequence of physical issues. Playing in mid-afternoon in Florence when it’s realistically still summer is tough for everyone.”
Douglas Costa, Miralem Pjanic and Danilo all left the game with injuries, and the Bianconeri have a Champions League group game against Atletico Madrid midweek.
“Costa seems a slightly worse injury. Pjanic had a knock to the muscle during the week and it kept irritating him today, so we need more tests tomorrow.”
The midfield appeared non-existent for most of the game, severely depleting the service Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain received.
“When the team defends deeper, we need the forwards to come back and help more. We had difficulty on a purely technical level and I am confident a team with less personality would’ve lost. That is the positive and certainly a valuable quality to have a team that can fight it out for a point even when not in great shape.
“It was evident after 30 minutes that this was going to be extremely difficult.”
Adrien Rabiot remained on the bench again with Blaise Matuidi getting the start and offering precious little in attack.
“Rabiot is a player of great quality, but he hasn’t played a single competitive game in 2019. He arrived with such determination and sharpness, but when you haven’t played for months, there’s going to be a physical blowback from that. He is a very sensitive guy and so that physical reaction was something he also suffered with psychologically.
“We had five players at the Copa America and eight on the treatment table, so we have half the squad at a more advanced fitness level than the rest. It was a difficult situation to deal with and we needed some time to get them all in to acceptable levels, but the good news is that we tend to finish games strong.
“We’re therefore lacking some sharpness, but the stamina remains.”