Juventus easily dispatched of Cagliari 2-0 on Saturday to provisionally move into second place in the table. The Bianconeri pretty much dominated the entire game and will consider themselves unlucky to have not scored more while limiting their visitors to just one (offside) chance all game long.
Speaking after the game, coach Andre Pirlo was pleased with the reaction from the players after he had thrown down the gauntlet in his pre-match press conference.
“The players may change, but our style of football must remain the same. We did very well to control the game in the first half especially, so we needed a performance like this to boost the confidence and self-belief of the team.
“When you come back from international duty, it’s always tough to focus, but we did well to maintain the right spirit from the very beginning.
“We’ve got many players in the squad who can change the game by going on the counter, although there needs to be a balance, as otherwise we risk getting stretched out.”
Midfielder Arthur’s confidence is high after scoring during the international break, his first goal for Brazil, and he had an assured showing for Juve too.
“He is the player we expected. He came from La Liga, which has a totally different approach above all to training more than playing. He needed time to settle in, he is a guarantee on the ball and finds the right solution to escape the opposition press.”
Pirlo insisted on the need for application and execution from his side, no matter who the opposition.
“There’s plenty of quality in this squad, but that is not enough. In order to dominate the game, you have to move the ball rapidly from side to side.
“The players also enjoy that style of football, and when you have possession, pinning the opposition back, you even get to rest on the ball and not run so much.
“We’ve been trying for this pressing game since the start, but didn’t have much time this season to work on it. The key essentially is to win back the ball as quickly as possible so that we keep the pressure constantly on the opposition and maintain possession.”
Alvaro Morata and Cristiano Ronaldo looked very effective together, but how will Pirlo get Paulo Dybala working with that pairing?
“When Dybala is fully fit, then he will play more in his role. He’s been on antibiotics for the last 10 days due to an old virus, but he did come on well today with a bit more strength.”
On Ronaldo’s brace, the coach was not surprised at all.
“Ronaldo is a great professional, as we all knew, and he sets the example for everyone around him in both the matches and training. The only advice I can give him is keep going like this!”