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Pirlo explains Ronaldo omission, expects to still be Juve coach next season

Coach’s comments after last matchday dramatics sees Bianconeri nab fourth Champions League spot.

Bologna FC v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Danilo Di Giovanni/Getty Images

Juventus took care of their own business early on and then got some help from unexpected quarters (thank you Hellas Verona!) to ensure they made the top four on the last matchday of the 2020-21 Serie A season and thus qualify for the Champions League next season.

Speaking after the comfortable 4-1 win at Bologna, coach Andrea Pirlo insisted that he thought he would still be in charge next season.

“For me, it was important to finish the job, winning the Coppa Italia and qualifying for the Champions League, which was a very important target.

“I’ve always put in the total commitment, and this is the result. Those who must decide [about my future] will do it.

“I see myself on the Juve bench next season, I would confirm myself, but now we must enjoy what we have achieved.”

Cristiano Ronaldo was a surprise omission from the starting lineup, and Pirlo said it was a decision made mutually with his replacement Alvaro Morata snagging a brace.

“It was a shared decision, Ronaldo was tired after Wednesday’s game, so I decided to start Morata, another great player. Ronaldo was available, I have a deep squad, and I can pick many different players.”

Paulo Dybala looked more like the player that Juve fans have gotten sued to seeing over the last few years.

“A player like him changes the level of every team. He had many physical issues this season, he’s never trained consistently, but the quality is there. We missed him, let’s see what the future has in store for him.”

Adrien Rabiot popped up with another goal and assist, driving forward with purpose.

“Rabiot has proved to be a unique midfielder. He is a champion. Knowing all the others, I managed to put them in the right conditions to perform well.”

What changes is he expecting to see in himself and his squad going forward?

“I imagine a stronger Juventus, a team that is aware of its strength. Some players have no idea about their potential and how strong they are. We are on the right path if we help each other and run all together for the target. We lacked all these things many times this season.

“When we felt a bit of fear and when we saw that the target was farther away, we gathered, we understood that to get the result, we needed an extra effort. In the end, we achieved the result. If we start again together next season, we’ll have a solid base.

“I never had fear, it took me a while to create that routine for the training sessions. It took some time to make the lads understand what I wanted, it was not easy to step in with so many champions, but everyone has helped me.

“I’ve improved, it was a complicated season, but it was useful for my development.”