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Pirlo: Juve reaps the benefits of Under-23 side in Serie C

Coach’s comments after Juve stroll into Coppa semis

Juventus v SPAL - Coppa Italia Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

Juventus strolled to a 4-0 win over Serie B side SPAL in the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia. Andrea Pirlo’s young side took on the mantle of the senior side and looked completely in control from the first whistle to the final to set up a two-legged tie with Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan in early February.

Speaking after the victory, coach Andrea Pirlo was satisfied with his side’s tidy approach.

“Our objective was to get through and we did it against a team that has done well this season in both the Coppa Italia and their league.

“It was important that we take them on with conviction and we did that from the first minute.”

The matchday squad had five Under-23 players with three in the starting lineup, and Pirlo reminded the media that Juve remain the only side with a youth team playing in Serie C thanks to a recent rule change.

“Juve were the first and only club to create a B-Team and I think it was a great move for the development of these players. It’s one thing to pluck players from the youth academy, quite another to get them from a team currently in Serie C. I believe other clubs ought to open their minds a bit more.”

Much-vaunted teenager Nicolò Fagioli got his first team debut and did well with the responsibility placed on him.

“He’s an interesting lad, he’s been training with us for some time. He arrived with me as a trequartista, but I believe he can also work as a playmaker and has good vision.”

Dejan Kulusevski continues to be hit or miss in the striking role, but got a rare goal off his right foot today.

“He can cover many different roles. I asked him to play as a striker today to fill in the gaps, but he can play anywhere. It’s a pity he’ll be suspended against Sampdoria on Sunday, but he’ll have time to recover for the next.”

The Bianconeri are still smarting from a loss against Inter when they were comprehensively outplayed, but will get a chance to right that performance.

“We meet again. We’re happy, because our objective is to win the Coppa Italia, so we’ll prepare next week.”

The legend Gigi Buffon has yet to indicate whether he will still be at Juve next year?

“We hope so. He’s in good shape, is proving every day that he can still play football and we’ll all be very happy if he continues to do so.”