Juventus take on Brescia tomorrow while title challengers Inter Milan and Lazio play each other in games that could have implications to who is at the top of the table come Monday. Speaking ahead of the game, manager Maurizio Sarri spoke about the three-way battle for the Scudetto.
“It was clear from the very start that this would be a different type of season. I think it’s motivating to be in a title race to the very end, so I feel we have to feed from this situation.”
Regarding tomorrow’s opponents Brescia who are struggling with injuries.
“Brescia have done far better on their travels than at home, they are not easy to face, especially when they are away. No game is easy at this stage of the season, they don’t exist and the campaign just gets tougher in the second half, as more teams are getting settled into their rhythm.
“We also see mid-table teams no longer just stop playing in the final weeks, which they used to do a few years ago.”
Will Inter and Lazio’s clash be a turning point for the Scudetto?
“No single match is decisive. We just have to focus on ourselves and picking up as many points as possible.”
Sarri was unhappy with how passive Juventus were midweek against AC Milan in the Coppa Italia, with Cristiano Ronaldo getting cut off from the game.
“You resolve passivity by being far more aggressive. There is no defensive system that can work without an aggressive attitude. We’re not passive constantly, but there are moments during a match when we lose intensity and have to work on that.
“Watching the Milan game back in the Coppa Italia, we did play out well from their initial press, but then left the strikers too isolated upfront. Compared to the previous game at Verona, I saw significant steps forward until we got to the final third and then it just stopped.
“Paulo Dybala went a little deeper than usual, but watching the game back, he did well to free himself from the press, although clearly that also meant he couldn’t support Ronaldo.”
Aaron Ramsey moved back to midfield in that game while Juan Cuadrado pushed upfront on the wing of the 4-3-3.
“Theo Hernandez could’ve been a real thorn in our side, so we chose an option that put Ramsey in the role that he ultimately prefers.”
Manager of defending Champions League winners Liverpool Jurgen Klopp told media this morning that he felt Juventus were the favourites for this year’s tournament, and that he “can’t understand” why the Bianconeri were they not leading the pack by 10 points.
“Jurgen also said that he doesn’t watch much Italian football, so that explains his confusion! Jurgen is one of the smartest and funniest people I’ve ever known and what he’s doing here is shaking off the burden of being the favourites.
Manchester City are appealing their two-year ban from Europe for violating Financial Fair Play regulations, does Sarri think that means Pep Guardiola and star names would choose to leave at the end of the season?
“I went to Chelsea last season and they weren’t in the Champions League. I was happy to do it. Mind you, this is also the first stage of the process, there will be appeals and we’ll see what the definitive verdict is, but there are situations where a coach can look beyond those limitations.”