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Pirlo: Juventus were not intelligent enough to adapt

Coach’s comments after awful away performance in first leg of Champions League Round of 16

FC Porto v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Leg One Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

Juventus have hit a few new lows already this season, but this loss at Porto should take the cake as the worst one yet. The Bianconeri had exited the Champions League last season at this very stage to Lyon, and for long periods today it looked like this season’s side was trying to emulate that, but with even more embarrassment.

Speaking after the game, coach Andrea Pirlo was frustrated by how poorly his side had played, having given the hosts the advantage just a minute into a physical battle they seemed to have no gameplan for.

“When you concede a goal after one minute, a strange one at that, it’s natural the players will lose confidence, especially against a side that knows how to clam up in defence.

“Porto got the game immediately on the track they wanted. With such a packed fixture list, it’s normal you can’t always maintain absolute focus and the right tempo, but it shouldn’t have happened in the Round of 16 of the Champions League.”

Club captain Giorgio Chiellini had to leave the game in the first half after yet another calf issue, and Alvaro Morata had more issues after the final whistle.

“Matthijs De Ligt fortunately just had cramp. Chiellini has a calf problem and Morata wasn’t in good shape before, then was sore at the end too, so we’ll see. Morata hasn’t been at his best since returning from a bout of flu. He was only playing tonight because we needed him.

“He felt ill in the locker room afterwards, he felt faint and needed a lie down, so he is not doing well.”

The opening goal came from Porto’s pressure on Juve trying to play the ball out of the back, and they sustained that for most of the game and came close more than once to pouncing on repeated mistakes.

“We moved the ball around too slowly and weren’t intelligent enough to realise the dynamics of the game we were going into.

“The intention was to spread the play, but we didn’t do it enough in the first half, a bit more towards the end. It’s not easy against a team with 11 men behind the ball.

“We had prepared well for this game, it was not the attitude we wanted, but conceding a goal in the opening minute when we handed it to them on a silver platter made everything more difficult.”