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Sarri: Birthdays make me grumpy

Manager’s comments ahead of key clash against Roma

Juventus Training Session Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

Juventus take on AS Roma tomorrow in Serie A action with a chance to go back to the top of the table after Inter Milan and Atalanta drew 1-1 today.

Speaking ahead of the clash, manager Maurizio Sarri talked about the challenge of playing against the Roman side.

“It’s going to be a difficult game and we need to be more consistent over the course of 90 minutes, so I want us to build on the good work seen against Cagliari.

“I had already tipped Roma and Paulo Fonseca to be a surprise outfit in Serie A this season. Despite the many injuries, he has been able to give them a precise identity.

“They continually have these bursts of pace that make them very dangerous. The biggest risk is that you get caught off balance and are split in two. This is why we have to keep the lines tight and be wary.”

Striker Gonzalo Higuain is unlikely to play tomorrow, but Sarri is not concerned about the effect on his team.

“It depends on the characteristics of the players. Paulo Dybala starts his runs a little deeper and Cristiano Ronaldo off centre. Higuain therefore resolves an issue of getting bodies in the box.

“Aaron Ramsey can find space easily when Dybala and Ronaldo are in front of him, but so could Adrien Rabiot and Sami Khedira in those situations.

“I have not suddenly embraced squad rotation. At Napoli, we needed to find consistency at that time and it was the priority. Changing two or three players won’t make that big a difference to the shape of the team, but six or seven can certainly transform the approach you want to take.”

Matthijs de Ligt has been out of the starting lineup for over a month now with injuries, but could be back in the side tomorrow.

“He is doing better, we get the feeling the pain in his shoulder and hip is subsiding.”

The manager celebrated his 61st birthday on Friday and was asked what the ideal present would be from his side tomorrow.

“I ask them to do what they always do, which is give their all to win the game. Besides, I am at an age now where birthdays make me grumpy…”