Juventus dominated possession, had the best chances and otherwise did everything but score in a 1-0 loss at Napoli on Saturday. In much the same way that Juve had foiled AS Roma and Inter Milan in games before this, Napoli relied on a strong defensive showing and an inspired performance from their goalkeeper Alex Meret to keep out Juve.
Speaking to the press after the game, coach Andrea Pirlo was frustrated with how the game had gone today.
“We never allowed a shot on goal, we lost due to a dubious incident, but it’s a pity we didn’t get the win. We put in the performance that we needed to, but not the result that we deserved.
“We moved the ball around, but not quickly enough, so Napoli were able to get into position. In the second half we were more enterprising, created more chances, but didn’t get the goal.”
Pirlo was particulalry quite unhappy with the referee Daniele Doveri who awarded a penalty to Napoli after reviewing the video evidence of Giorgio Chiellini’s hand hitting Amir Rrahmani in the face.
“If you give a penalty for that, then any contact will be punishable by a spot-kick. If that had been given for us, there would’ve been a lot of controversy and complaints, assuming it’d be given to us at all.
“I am just saying the incidents went that way today. It was a dubious penalty, a doubt over the double yellow card for Giovanni Di Lorenzo. Some incidents are treated differently when against Juventus, because everyone talks about us. Sometimes that tactic works, sometimes it doesn’t. Never mind.”
The Bianconeri had been on a good run of form previous to this, but the injuries and fatigue finally led Pirlo’s side to pay the price.
“It’s natural when playing this many games that we lack a bit of sharpness, but it was a good performance and the only thing we were missing was a goal.
“There’s no guarantee the team that scores the most goals then wins the Scudetto. We create plenty of chances, the Napoli goalkeeper was Man of the Match, so I can’t complain about my strikers today.
“We could be 10 points off the top with a game in hand, but it’s still only February and if we keep playing at this level, we’ll do well.
“If we put in this type of performance and score goals, then I am sure we’ll get the results we want.”
There were murmurs that Gennaro Gattuso could be sacked had he lost today, was Pirlo relieved for his friend?
“I’m pleased for Gattuso because he’s a friend, but I preferred to win and take the three points home.”