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Sarri: Juventus never varied the tempo

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Manager’s comments after Juve lose away at Lyon in first leg of Champions League fixture

FBL-EUR-C1-LYON-JUVENTUS Photo by PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP via Getty Images

Juventus weren’t able to overcome a poor first half performance as they dropped a 1-0 decision away at Olympique Lyonnais in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 game.

Speaking after the loss, manager Maurizio Sarri appeared frustrated with his players, blaming them squarely for the flat showing on the pitch.

“It’s difficult to explain why, but our first half moved the ball too slowly, with no movement, so naturally the opposition were going to press, win the ball back and even score.

“We lacked determination and aggression when attacking, and for 15 minutes lacked it defensively too. We were unlucky to concede when De Ligt was off injured.

“The second half was better, but frankly it’s not enough for a Champions League match. I don’t know why, I cannot get the players to understand the importance of moving the ball quickly. This is fundamental, we’ll keep working on it and sooner or later this concept will get into their heads.

“I continued to tell them, and there were many who were doing it, moving the ball too slowly and therefore getting into the wrong positions.

“We had training yesterday and the ball was moving twice as quickly as it did tonight. This is the opposite of what should happen. Lately we’re doing a lot of things opposite to in training.”

It’s not the first time Sarri has attempted to throw his players under the bus, and with pressure growing on the manager, he went all in on holding the side culpable.

“When the ball is slow, you lose positions, you allow the opposition to close you down, to be aggressive and steal the ball back. I don’t even think the Lyon pressing was that strong. We just moved it slowly, never varied the tempo, and when you do that, it’s frankly unlikely you’re going to create anything.

“I can’t understand why the ball was moving twice as fast in training compared to the match situation.”

While the Bianconeri posed a more formidable threat in the second half with the hosts choosing to sit back and defend their lead.

“The second half was better because the ball was moved slightly faster, there was a little more movement off the ball and we were able to pin them back into their own penalty area, particularly in the final stages.

“We are meant to do things that are clearly different to what we are doing. I didn’t like putting a long ball forward for 60 metres, it’s futile when everyone is clammed up there, it’s better to carry it forward and attempt a through ball.”