A flat Juventus threw the Scudetto race wide open following a disappointing defeat at Hellas Verona. Cristiano Ronaldo gave the visitors the lead against the run of play, but then the Bianconeri proceeded to throw it all away late in the game conceding twice as Ivan Juric’s side ended an excellent week having previously held in-form Lazio to a 0-0 draw midweek.
Speaking after the game, manager Maurizio Sarri was concerned about Juve’s away form, which has now seen them lose three out of their last five on the road.
“Evidently we have different performances and results when comparing home form to away. It was a difficult game, we knew it would be and that Verona would make us suffer early on.
“We held out well, hit the woodwork twice, took the lead, but cannot drop points with such soft errors. The first goal was inexplicable, if we want Juventus to win games, we cannot keep making errors caused by a superficial attitude.
“Verona deserve absolute credit, as they were aggressive from start to finish and we knew they would be. We were aware that it was important to hold out for the opening 25 minutes, that we’d then have our chances.
“We did all that, but then threw the points away with superficiality and it’s a habit we absolutely need to get rid of.”
The manager insisted that the issue was not physical fitness, but more of a mental issue with Juve often giving up a goal within minutes of scoring.
“The mind is the most important thing, because if that is detached then you won’t be on the mark tactically. If you mind is also not at 100 per cent, then the physique won’t follow.
“What we need to realise is that winning is not to be taken for granted. We have to work harder, get dirty when we need to and not rest on our laurels.
“Verona deserve immense credit for the first half-hour, but we deserve the blame for the final half-hour. They showed great intensity and we simply did not.”
Sarri has often said that he felt his Juventus players weren’t hungry enough this season with the club having won eight domestic titles in a row.
“This team is accustomed to winning comfortably in recent years and we have to get it into our heads that we can’t afford to waste points.
“I hope the lesson will be learned, because we’ve been discussing it for some time. It’s difficult, because the team trains well, but then can’t bring out its full potential during a match situation. We have got to resolve this situation.”
Paulo Dybala came on for Gonzalo Higuain but was unable to make a difference.
“The sensation from the bench was that spaces were opening up, so the idea was to make the most of these enormous spaces not just for the centre-forward, but for the others too.”