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Pirlo: Juventus not at Barcelona level yet

Coach’s comments after disappointing home loss in the Champions League

Juventus v FC Barcelona: Group G - UEFA Champions League Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Juventus slumped to a 2-0 defeat at home against Barceloan in Matchday Two of the Champions League, with the visitors dominating play at times.

Speaking after the game, coach Andrea Pirlo was disappointed but chose to look ahead.

“We knew it’d be tough against a side that plays good football, that is accustomed to playing at this level, whereas we are a work in progress.

“Ultimately, it’s a match that will be useful for us to grow and improve in future.”

Pirlo struck a frustrated note especially around the squad he had to select from, and once Merih Demiral had gotten sent off there was virtually no chance of a comeback.

“I hope to have more players back soon, because I don’t have many options and those I start end up having to play almost 90 minutes twice a week. That’s not easy for them, especially when they are young and inexperienced.

“It’s frustrating when you are down to ten men, as you can’t go to press them, otherwise it just ends up running on empty. That’s what the lads didn’t realise when we went down to ten.”

Juventus struggled to create chances apart from the hat-trick of offside goals notched by Alvaro Morata.

“The plan had been to spread out the Barcelona defence a bit more, but we tended to be a bit too close together and playing all on the same lines.”

Juve insisted on using Paulo Dybala for all the chance creation with Federico Chiesa reduced to a peripheral figure in the game.

“It’s true. We had tried to keep Chiesa wide, then pushed Adrien Rabiot into a more advanced area, with Juan Cuadrado pushing up in the second half. The idea had been to pull Sergi Roberto out of position, as he struggles if he is out of position, but we were never really able to do that. The players ultimately make the decisions on the pitch.

“We need to be quicker in the way we move the ball to create one-on-one situations, but we didn’t manage it tonight.”

The question has often been asked - has the Juventus midfield seen a massive drop off in quality since Pirlo’s departure?

“Football clubs have eras, we had huge players with a lot of international experience. Now they are largely younger, so it’ll take a while to get them up to that level.

“They tried to create something there, but we need to work and improve until we can play Barcelona on level terms.”