Juventus showed no signs of rust coming back from the winter break as they swept aside sixth-placed Cagliari 4-0 at home earlier today. Cristiano Ronaldo lodged a hat-trick while second half substitute Gonzalo Higuain nabbed a goal too to start the new decade off on a high note.
Speaking after the game, manager Maurizio Sarri was very happy about how his side played today.
“The quality we have only expressed in flashes, we showed over a longer period today. On the field we must be organised, in order to press during certain situations. Today, we were more organised than we’ve usually been.”
Sarri opted not to start with the trident again, instead going with Aaron Ramsey behind the pair of Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala.
“Ramsey did well, he is finding continuity in training after a period with a lot of niggles. His condition is getting better. In my opinion, he did well defensively. In the attacking phase, he still has a way to go. He could have done better, and he has the qualities to do better.
“The movement of the midfielders with the two attackers are a lot different than from the 4-3-3, especially because of Cristiano, who we want to keep up front to change the defensive movements.
“It’s a difficulty I hope we will avoid a little bit more during the next weeks.”
The manager also had some stern words for Juan Cuadrado while commending him for his work rate.
“Cuadrado is quite organised in his work on the line, the end product is a bit messier. He puts his behind on the ground a bit too often. But then he has this energy when we are pressing and against a team like Cagliari, who play with a lot of density in the middle, it’s very important.”
Midfielder Adrien Rabiot is a subject of a number of transfer rumours, but Sarri was pleased with how he did.
“Rabiot played a good game, he is growing. The small difficulties he had, I created for him when I made him play on the right. I am happy, he played an honest game. He was always in the right position.”
There was no return to the starting lineup for Matthijs De Ligt, but Sarri remains a big believer in the youngster’s abilities.
“I’m the first person who is convinced that De Ligt will become one of the best defenders in the world. During the first few months he had a devastating path. He had to learn a lot about playing every three days.
“Merih Demiral is in great shape at the moment, it seems right to exploit the players in relation to the moment they’re in.”
On sporting director Fabio Paratici’s comments that there will be no transfer activity for Juventus in January, Sarri seemed amused.
“Paratici said the market is closed? I’ll buy him a dinner; he eliminated a month of useless questions coming my way. I don’t care a lot about the transfer market. I can stay even a week without asking him for any news.
“It’s difficult to improve a team in January, what the sporting director said seems normal to me.”
Juventus are back at the top of the table pending the result of his former side Napoli playing Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan, but the manager will not be watching the game.
”Tonight, I will take Ciro out for a walk, my dog.”