Some big games live up to the hype due to the action during the ninety minutes. Other big games end up becoming too big of an occasion for the match officials in charge of ensuring a fair fight. Today’s Derby d’Italia was the latter unfortunately, though for the most part Bianconeri everywhere will take the result as it means Juventus stay in contention for a Champions League spot until the last weekend of the current campaign.
Speaking after Juve’s 3-2 win over Inter Milan, coach Andrea Pirlo rued that he hadn’t seen this same spirit from his players all season long.
“We should have had the same determination and desire to fight on every ball also in the other games of the season.
“If we had done so, we would not be fighting for a top-four finish at this point. We made too many mistakes in games that seemed easy on paper.”
Interestingly, for the most part Juve have showed up in the bigger games they’ve played this season.
“We’ve asked ourselves many times what we’ve lacked this season. We didn’t have the same fire burning inside. We had to turn the light on again to fight the title and a top-four finish. The lads have proved they are up to the task in big games.
“This group has a lot to give, we have many young players, but playing for Juventus means having more responsibility. It takes time to adapt.
“We shouldn’t have dropped so many points, but this is a good team, we have room for improvement, there is a good base to work well.”
Was Pirlo expecting to still be at Juventus next season?
“I haven’t thought about the future. I was only focused on today’s game. We’ll talk about the future later on.”
Pirlo had previously made the bold move of taking off Cristiano Ronaldo with Juve a man down and protecting a lead.
“I think it was the first time he was happy to be subbed off. We were one man down, and he’d have been chasing shadows. He was happy and smiling in the dressing room.”
Meanwhile, club captain Giorgio Chiellini chose to bite his tongue about referee Gianpaolo Calvarese, who certainly made some headscratching decisions, including the one that resulted in an own goal by the veteran defender as he was getting pulled down in the box.
“It was a hard-fought win against the best team in Italy. We played as a team, as we haven’t done too many times this season. We complimented Inter players in the tunnel.
“I can’t say what I think [about Calvarese], everyone sees things differently on the pitch, we stole nothing.”
On what went wrong this season for Juve, Chiellini added -
“We’ve never won more than three games in a row, the season was not a disaster, but we haven’t had consistency.
“I’ve always had a good relationship with Pirlo, respecting each other’s roles. We’ve always respected him as a coach.
“We could not have the same relationship we had until one year ago. There are hierarchies and we’ve tried to help him.”