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Pirlo: This was a step back for Juventus in terms of performance

Coach’s comments after Juve come from behind with a man down to rescue a point

AS Roma v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Juventus fought back twice with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo to rescue a point at AS Roma today, with the second equalizer coming a man down as well.

Speaking after the game, coach Andrea Pirlo was disappointed but remained pragmatic.

“We faced two completely different teams this season, so I knew our approach would be totally different to the one against Sampdoria.

“It was a step back in terms of performance, but this is a work in progress and we haven’t had an opportunity to play pre-season friendlies to test these things out.

“It was ultimately a point gained, as we were a goal down twice and then down to 10 men, while we have some players like Arthur who haven’t really played for six months.”

Pirlo went on to add where he thought the game got away from Juve.

“We wanted to make the most of one-on-one situations, as we knew Roma would attack in numbers, but it didn’t go quite the way we hoped. It was always going to be tough against an organised team.

“We tried to keep the midfield lines tight to not allow space for the trequartista. At times it worked, at times it didn’t, but we are having to test all these situations during a match, seeing as we didn’t have pre-season friendlies.”

Juve’s formation continues to be an amorphous mystery, changing from a three-man backline to four and then back again, while Aaron Ramsey seems to float about in the middle.

“We have midfielders suited to a two-man system, so Bentancur, Arthur and Rabiot all have these characteristics and we have to put them in the condition to give their best.

“Unfortunately, these are all situations you can’t test out in training, it needs to be a match. Arthur needs time to adapt to Serie A and to our style of football, not to mention he’s not fully fit after so long out of action.

“Bentancur played if anything too much last season, he ended the campaign exhausted and has been doing specific training work to get back into shape.”

Ronaldo’s brace was much-needed for the Bianconeri, and Pirlo is grateful to have him in the squad.

“We’re very glad to have Ronaldo, as he doesn’t just provide goals. He ran more when we went down to 10 men and that was a great help to his teammates.”

Pirlo used Dejan Kulusevski and Juan Cuadrado as his wide men, but neither was able to really influence the game as he would have wanted.

“We knew it could be difficult down the wings, as Roma have very aggressive defenders. We should’ve spread them out more, but got the movements wrong and all went in the same direction, so that didn’t create the spaces we were looking for. These are areas where we can certainly improve.”

On the subject of rivals, he was also asked if he thought Inter Milan were now a stronger side in terms of depth with their latest additions.

“I don’t know if it is better than ours, but it is certainly stronger than last season, as they brought in players of quality. I think it’ll be a battle to the very end. I told the lads substitutions would be important this evening, especially seeing what happened with Inter last night, and that was true.”