Juventus went to the Marassi and came away with a confident win yesterday, beating Genoa 3-1 on the back of three spectacular goals from key men Paulo Dybala, Cristiano Ronaldo and Douglas Costa.
Speaking after the game, manager Maurizio Sarri was satisfied with the first complete performance his charges had put together in.. well, months.
“I think the team did well, even in the first half. We had clear chances, without conceding any.
“It was a good team effort and we scored three beautiful goals. The team have recovered well after the disappointment from the Coppa Italia, but it was only a matter of time before we were physically well.”
Miralem Pjanic was in the starting lineup as Sarri had promised despite the player’s transfer to Barcelona being confirmed this week, and the midfielder was back to his old self, orchestrating play in the middle and even picking up his first assist since last autumn.
“I haven’t even talked to Miralem these days. I often did it after the suspension, after the lockdown, because he had these 20 to 25 days in poor shape.
“We asked ourselves the reason and we tried to find the solution. It was a drop in the mental condition more than anything else.
“I’m sure he will do well in this period. I find him happy and calm. I have no worries.”
Another midfielder Adrien Rabiot also received some praise from the manager after a better, more-rounded showing.
“Rabiot’s performance was positive, he is making progress. Everyone expects a lot from him and it’s not easy.
“He didn’t play for seven months at PSG, he moved to a different country and he has changed style of play. Then he had a physical problem and the interruption. But he is developing.”
Even Ronaldo had a better game today, looking hungry and involved for most of the game, and not losing his mind either when he was substituted off in the second half.
“In the first half he went for the shot five times, so it means he was doing more than he should. Cristiano often plays to free himself to finish, but when he decides to move the ball quickly, he is the best of them all.
“Honestly, I was going to replace Dybala, then I chose Ronaldo, who has played many minutes. We discussed it over the last days, he knew that he would go off at 3-0 and he did it with serenity.”
Dybala and Ronaldo have often looked out of sync, but at Genoa it all seemed to come together for the pair and Sarri seems to think the miscommunications are behind the two stars.
“Something has changed in terms of movements, but they have learned to look for each other more often.
“They have realised that by benefitting from each other, both reap the rewards. It’s something I have noticed in training too.”
With the Derby della Mole next against local rivals Torino, would that be the game Gianluigi Buffon starts to get the Serie A minutes that take him past Paolo Maldini and set the record for most Serie A appearances?
“I don’t know, the game has been over for 40 minutes. Gigi has signed a renewal with the club. He has many games available to set a new record.”