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Sarri frustrated by Juventus’ second half performance

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Manager’s comments after Juventus’ tight win at Roma

AS Roma v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Juventus rode two early goals to beat AS Roma 2-1 away, and returned to the top of the Serie A table two points clear of Inter Milan who drew yesterday against Atalanta.

Maurizio Sarri was unhappy about the effort towards the latter half of the game as the hosts dominated possession and created chance after chance with Juve hanging on at times.

“We played well for a good 60 minutes, and suffering at the Olimpico against Roma is almost inevitable.

“What I did not like is that we tried to sit on our lead rather than increase it, as three times we had three-against-one counter-attacks and didn’t finish them off.

“We did well for long periods, so I am happy with the result, but we tried to pass it inside our own half when in the lead rather than push it forward.

“I don’t think the long ball is a great idea, partly because we don’t have many strikers who are strong in the air, but also because it can get us 6-7 goals per season, but I believe will also lead to us conceding another 10.

“There are risks with our passing game, but what we need to do is pass the ball in order to go forward, not just to keep hold of it for no reason.

“We got too deep towards the end and that inevitably became dangerous. I prefer to defend 30 metres further forward, so I also tried to change the system in order to change that.”

Paulo Dybala was replaced by Gonzalo Higuain in the second half, but appeared to be extremely happy about the manager’s decision.

“I couldn’t care less, to be perfectly honest. The game was telling me to do certain things and I had to make decisions. Paulo can give his response on the field, but it’s pretty normal. I’ve never seen a player leave the pitch looking happy with the idea.”

Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot started today, and Sarri was happy with what he saw from the pair.

“They are improving game by game, so I am pleased with them both, but they also have margins for improvement. Aaron was also able to score a few goals at Arsenal, as it’s in his DNA to run forward between the lines.

“It’s not easy for him in Serie A and he had a series of fitness issues. We knew that we’d have to wait for him and I am pleased that our patience is paying off. I am convinced the same will be said of Rabiot.”

Merih Demiral had an eventful appearance, starting the game and scoring the opening goal in the first few minutes of the game. However the Turkish defender was then injured and replaced by Matthijs de Ligt, who then was involved in a clash with Nicolo Zaniolo, and the Roma player was stretchered off with knee ligament damage.

“Demiral has a sprain and we won’t know any more until tomorrow morning. However, the sensation we have is that it might be a serious injury.

“We want to wish Zaniolo all the best.”