At his first pre-match press conference of the new year, Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri didn’t hold back. He came out guns a-blazzin’, with the clips being emptied about as much as they possibly could. He was honest and very direct when assessing what his team needs to do as they come out of the holiday break.
From Sunday afternoon’s pre-match press conference:
“We’ve been working in training on the many errors that we’ve made recently, so before trying to work out how to neutralize Cagliari, we concentrated more on how to improve ourselves. We’re coming off a game where we got a lot wrong mentally even before the tactical issues. The defense gets the blame when conceding a goal, but I think they’ve not been protected well by the midfield.”
The thing about the quote above is that I’m sure Sarri has been stewing on it for two weeks, ever since Juventus tumbled to a second straight 3-1 loss to Lazio in the month of December, this time in the Supercoppa Italiana a couple of days before Christmas.
Now, as Juventus gets ready to begin the new year against one of Serie A’s biggest feel-good stories of the 2019-20 season in Cagliari, we get to see whether Sarri’s squad will actually be able to correct the mistakes that their manager has spoken so frankly about. And if they do, which obviously most folks around here hope they do so that Sarrismo can actually start to truly show itself on a consistent basis.
Or, as we hope will not be the case, the kind of form we saw from Juventus over the course of the last three months or so will be ever-present again, with unimpressive performances being stacked up on top of one another continuing to take place.
Maybe the new year will start as a new beginning of sorts.
And maybe the new year will be the start of something where Sarri’s system truly begins to click like it has so many times in the past at some of his other stops.
And maybe, just maybe, Juventus will put a complete game together without any kind of massive heart-attack moments or allowing stupid goals. (Lord knows we’ve seen enough of that through the first half of the season.)
The thing is, though, we won’t know until this team actually plays. So, Juventus, please go out there and fulfill your potential. Or else it will be a long month of January and February in the same kind of fashion that November and December weren’t exactly glamorous by any means.
When: Monday, Jan. 6, 2020
Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy
Official kickoff time: 3 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 2 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 9 a.m. Eastern Time; 6 a.m. Pacific Time
Juventus starting XI (4-3-1-2): Szczesny; Cuadrado, Bonucci, Demiral, Alex Sandro; Rabiot, Pjanic, Matuidi; Ramsey; Dybala, Ronaldo
Juventus bench: Buffon, Pinsoglio, De Sciglio, de Ligt, Danilo, Rugani, Emre Can, Douglas Costa, Pjaca, Higuain, Bernardeschi
Cagliari starting XI (4-3-2-1): Cacciatore, Walukiewicz, Klavan, Pellegrini; Nandez, Cigarini, Rog; Nainggolan, Joao Pedro; Simeone
Cagliari bench: Ciocci, Rafael, Carboni, Faragó, Lykogiannis, Mattiello, Birsa, Castro, Deiola, Ionitá, Oliva, Cerri
HOW TO WATCH
Television: RAI Italia America (United States); RAI Italia America, TLN (Canada); Premier Sports 1 (United Kingdom); Sky Calcio 2, Sky Supercalcio HD, Sky Sport Serie A (Italy)
Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); DAZN (Canada); Premier Player HD (United Kingdom); 1SKY Go Italia, NOW TV (Italy)
Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, you can also follow along with us live and all the stupid things we say on Twitter. If you haven’t already, join the community on Black & White & Read All Over, and join in the discussion below.