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Pirlo demands more intensity from his Juventus side

Coach’s comments after a draw for Juve against Hellas Verona

Juventus v Hellas Verona - Italian Serie A Photo by Mattia Ozbot/Soccrates/Getty Images

Juventus once again had to come from a goal behind to get a share of the spoils, this time against Hellas Verona at home in a 1-1 draw.

After the game, coach Andrea Pirlo was displeased that his side needed to go behind again to get a reaction.

“Our first half wasn’t aggressive enough, we waited for them, and yet we created the best chances.

“We reacted well after they took the lead, but we shouldn’t need a slap in the face to wake up and play with intensity.

“When you play against Verona or Atalanta, it’s difficult because they take you one-on-one all over the field and create many duels. We worked to avoid their high press and that worked better in the second half. It’s tough against them, we could’ve done better.

“Arthur did very well controlling the ball and lasted the full 90 minutes, but he too can improve, as everyone can.

“We knew this would be more difficult than in Kiev, as Verona have this intensity. We worked in training on the press and dealing with one against one situations.

“We shouldn’t need a slap in the face to wake up, we ought to start with intensity and continue from there.”

Paulo Dybala got his first start of the season, but it was substitute Dejan Kulusevski who nabbed the equalizer.

“Kulusevski was rested because he had played seven in a row and was the only real option we had off the bench. We didn’t expect Dybala to stay out there for 90 minutes, but we worked hard and put himself about.”

Pirlo was asked how he envisioned his forward line once Cristiano Ronaldo returned from the COVID quarantine protocol.

“We can play Ronaldo with Morata or with Dybala, depending on the characteristics. Ronaldo’s classic position is to start slightly left and cut inside. Dybala and Kulusevski can do that too.

“We didn’t have the width provided by Federico Chiesa today, so we tried to get Federico Bernardeschi back in shape, as he hadn’t played for a while.

“Positions are interchangeable during a game, the important thing is to move within certain zones to create problems for the opposition defence.”

Juve play Barcelona midweek in the Champions League, but after seeing Giorgio Chiellini pick up an ailment against Kiev, Leonardo Bonucci is a risk for the Wednesday game after suffering a thigh injury.

“Bonucci already felt something in the game against Kiev, it flared up again tonight, so we’ll evaluate tomorrow.”