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Pirlo on Ronaldo’s future and Juve pressuring Inter

Coach’s comments ahead of clash against Benevento

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

Juventus take on Benevento this weekend with an opportunity to overhaul second-placed AC Milan and narrow the gap on league leaders Inter Milan whose game against Sassuolo has been postponed.

Speaking ahead of the game, coach Andrea Pirlo wants his side to retain focus before the upcoming international break.

“It’s an important game and comes just before a break for international duty, so it’s possible minds will wander towards what’s happening next week.

“However, this is a fundamental match for our campaign, we are up against a team in a good period of form, I know their coach well and he’ll come here trying to get a result.”

The Benevento coach he mentions is his former Milan and Italy teammate Pippo Inzaghi.

“I haven’t spoken to Pippo lately, but I always follow his progress with affection. He did so well to win the Serie B title last year and is proving himself to be an excellent coach.”

Juventus injury issues continue with Alex Sandro added to that list, to add to which Juan Cuadrado is suspended for this clash. There is some good news though with Rodrigo Bentancur having recovered from COVID.

“Gigi Buffon is feeling better, he trained and we’ll see if he will play tomorrow. We are all waiting for Paulo Dybala, who will have a week or two more to work in time for his return.

“Alvaro Morata is fine and will start, as will Dejan Kulusevski.”

Though Pirlo was encouraged by what he saw in the 3-1 against Cagliari, he urged his side to strive for even better.

“I was impressed with the tactical approach we took against Cagliari, but I had no doubts that it would. When everyone sacrifices themselves in both defence and attack, it all becomes easier.

“I want to see our overall play improve. We’ll have more time to work in training now, to whittle down certain mechanisms that simply take time to develop. We’ll concentrate on organising the play, as we have the squad to improve our quality of football.”

Juve will see their game-in-hand over Inter disappear after this weekend, with the COVID outbreak in the Nerazzurri squad causing the postponement of their game tonight.

“It is our duty to put pressure on Inter, as we have the opportunity to close the gap, but it all depends on us. We asked for information and accepted it. Different things have been done in this case compared to other situations.

“It happens during a positive moment for Inter, who will also be able to keep hold of their players rather than send them on international duty. In that sense, they were fortunate.”

It’s going to become mind-numbingly repetitive from here on out until the end of the season, but Pirlo was again asked about where the future of the saviour of Juventus —if some are to be believed— Cristiano Ronaldo lies.

“Ronaldo has another year on his contract and we are happy he can continue playing with us. On a technical and tactical level, we haven’t even thought about the future.”