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Pirlo: Juventus season didn’t end with Champions League exit

Coach insistent that his side still have a great future ahead

Juventus Training Session Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

Despite the huge setback faced by Juventus midweek with their exit from the Champions League at the Round of 16 stage again, coach Andrea Pirlo is choosing to look on the brighter side of things with a trip to Cagliari coming up tomorrow.

“The team obviously suffered a heavy blow, but we resumed training and have the path forward clear in our minds.

“Cagliari are a team who recently changed their coach and immediately picked up some important results, so we need pride and team spirit to put in a great performance against Cagliari.”

Cristiano Ronaldo exit talk continues to swirl around the club, but Pirlo refused to get drawn into the chatter but stated the importance of the star to his side.

“Ronaldo is fine. It’s natural he is disappointed by what happened the other night, as is everyone. He trained well and has recovered to play tomorrow night.

“It’s natural there are rumours after the elimination, as he is the most important player in the world along with Lionel Messi. He has always done well for us, scoring 90-odd goals and more than proved his worth.

“The project started in recent years planned the enrichment of the squad with players of a certain pedigree. It’s impossible to create a team just of young players. This was the initial project and it will be for the future as well.”

Pirlo looks to have struggled with multiple adversities in his rookie season as a coach, what did he have to say about how it’s gone so far?

“I had many of these situations in my career, as I won a great deal and also lost. I always tried to get back on track despite disappointment and we’ll do the same here.

“Our season didn’t end on Tuesday, we still have Serie A games to play and the Coppa Italia Final. We resume with the urge to show we are Juventus and we can react to negative moments by getting the best out of ourselves. It depends on us and the targets we’ve set ourselves.

“When you start, you hope to win every game, but that is not possible. This isn’t like in your dreams, you have to work hard and know that there will also be defeats.

“Our path will not change, we must have faith and believe in ourselves. We are convinced that we still have a great future ahead of us.”

The Champions League trophy drought has now gone into its 26th year, what does Juve need to do to set things right?

“We made some mistakes and when you make those in this competition, you can go out. We have to accept this elimination and learn from those errors. Now our objective is the league.

“We have to take it one game at a time, making the most of the fact we have more time now to prepare for matches and rest players. We also need to be more clinical.”

Injuries continue to mount for Pirlo’s squad, with now Merih Demiral and Aaron Ramsey the latest to pick up knocks.

“Everyone is fine, except Demiral, Ramsey, Paulo Dybala and Rodrigo Bentancur, so the others are all available and ready to play tomorrow. Giorgio Chiellini has recovered and could start tomorrow.

“We hope to have Dybala back after the break for international duty. We’ve practically never had him available this season and that was a big loss.”