Sarri assesses few players in pre-game presser

Maurizio Sarri began the presser before the Cagliari tilt by detailing what they did during the break: “We worked on several mistakes we made. We focused on ourselves before studying the Sardinians late in the week. We need to improve our mentality, because in most game we made more error there than tactical or technical ones.”

On Matthijs De Ligt: “He had a complicate period because of a shoulder and adductor issues. He played a lot, he is super young, while Merih Demiral was in optimal shape, so we were in position to rest him. De Ligt is improving, we will see tomorrow.” Continue reading

Award night results and Paratici’s words

Today was awards’ night both both on the European stage and in Italy: Cristiano Ronaldo came in third as far as the Balloon d’Or was concerned, while Matthijs De Ligt was 15th and won the Kopa trophy as best U-21. Domestically, Cristiano Ronaldo was elected the Serie A’s MVP for last season and, like Miralem Pjanic, Giorgio Chiellini and Joao Cancelo was voted into the team of the year.

Juventus’ chief football officer Fabio Paratici weighed in on the current affairs during the soiree: “In previous seasons, we have been even in fourth position at this point of the year and then we managed to come back. We are only in December, we are doing well and collected a lot of points, while Inter have done super well.” Continue reading

Juventus extend Bonucci’s contract till 2024

Juventus announced today to have reached an agreement with Leonardo Bonucci to tack on one more year to the current deal of the defender, which will now last until 2024. He has been the only Bianconero to feature in every minute of every game so far and also coach Maurizio Sarri recently praised him and underlined his importance in the defensive plans. The official site indicates that, since joining in 2010, he has racked up the most appearances of any player in the club, 375, 35 more than any other teammate, despite moving to Milan for one season. Continue reading

Buffon weighs in on PSG exit, his future, Italy, Inter and De Ligt

Gianluigi Buffon touched on few topics in his TV appearance in the program Tiki Taka: “In the last few years, there is always some controversy if a top team does not win. Sometimes tying has to be accepted, we played a great game against Lecce. We accustomed everybody to strong results, so there is some chatter where we are not successful.” Continue reading

Sarri hints at some changes in presser before Lecce clash

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri was back in front of the journos for another pre-game presser ahead of Saturday’s game against Lecce: “We do not have many available players right now, we were in 19 plus three goalies the other day. We will make some changes compared to how they came off from the previous match.”

On Mattia De Sciglio: “He has been practicing with the group for two or three days. He has been out since late August and he needs some time to be competitive physically. He has healed clinically.” Continue reading

It’s Time for the New Signings

With Juventus taking on Hellas Verona tomorrow, it’s as good a time as any for Maurizio Sarri to rotate his eleven and give the bianconeri’s new arrivals some much-needed playing time.

As the Italian champions debuted with a tough schedule that saw them take on Napoli, Fiorentina and Atletico Madrid in succession, the former Chelsea tactician opted not to ruffle any feathers and stick with Juventus veterans such as Sami Khedira and Blaise Matuidi among others.

Now with Juventus taking on Hellas Verona, Brescia and SPAL in the coming weeks, Sarri would be wise to rest his starters and look to integrate the new signings. While Matuidi and Khedira haven’t had bad starts to the season by any stretch, they are limited and are currently holding back ‘Sarriball’ from being in full flow.

New arrivals Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot are far more suited to free-flowing football and will benefit from increased playing time in the coming games.

Uruguayan international Rodrigo Bentancur is also expected to feature and has looked impressive in brief cameos thus far. Outside of a revamped midfield, hard-nosed defender Merih Demiral is rumoured to start alongside Leonardo Bonucci.

The Turkish international has patiently waited in the wings and appears more than ready to seize the opportunity. With Giorgio Chiellini out for the foreseeable future, Demiral’s aggression is an asset this Juventus defence desperately craves – as highlighted by their most recent collapse against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

Reports also suggest that Gonzalo Higuain will make way out of the lineup for Paulo Dybala. After a summer linking la Joya away from the club, the former Palermo man opted to stay, rejecting a move to Manchester United. Now with Sarri looking to rotate, it’s time for Dybala to prove himself and demonstrate he has what it takes to play as an outright number nine in the former Napoli tactician’s system.

At Napoli, Dries Mertens played this role to perfection and has a similar skill-set to the Argentine. While the Belgian is arguably a better finisher than Dybala, there’s no reason the Juventus forward can’t get into similar positions as Mertens. While the 25-year-old will be eager to play in more important games, proving himself against Hellas Verona will be a good start after an indifferent season under Allegri. Factor in Higuain’s good form, and it’s clear Dybala has to have a good performance against the newly-promoted side to keep up with his compatriot.

As the season unfolds and Juventus get more comfortable with their new boss, expect to see more and more signs of Sarriball in Turin. Introducing the likes of Dybala, Rabiot and Ramsey – players who are more technical than their direct competitors in their position – will only help in this respect.

As a result, the following weeks are of paramount importance to Sarri and co. Not for the table, but for his playing philosophy. If Juventus wish to play free-flowing football in their coach’s image, the time to buy in is now. On Sarri’s end, it’s time to use Juventus’ deep roster and look for alternatives to the current starters. Starting, of course, with the game against Hellas Verona.

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Matuidi refutes PSG links, news from pratice and financial updates

Blaise Matuidi denied he was close to returning to PSG in the summer: “It was all false. I have always said that I am fine at Juventus. I have been a PSG fan since I was kid and playing for them allowed me to fulfill a dream of mine. However, I am proud to play in one of best clubs in the world now.” The 32-year-old Frenchman has begun the season with an expiring contract after inking a two-year one last summer.

On the competition in the squad: “It stimulates me. Nobody gifts you anything in football, you have to earn your spot. If I am here it is because I have always been ready on the pitch.” Continue reading

Paratici rules out Dybala leaving and addresses Chiellini injury

Juventus CFO Fabio Paratici formally took Paulo Dybala out of the market for the first time: “I rule out his departure in a definitive way. His picture with Giorgio Chiellini demonstrates how tight this group is. The transfer market is not only made of planning, but also of opportunities and some unexpected events, like Giorgio Chiellini’s one. The ongoing games can lead to some trepidation but we are very serene. If there were any, we could take advantage of some bargains in the time left, otherwise we will stay as is.” Continue reading

Serie A Team of the Week – Round 1

Jesse Joronen (7 points): some imperfections for the newcomer, but also, and more importantly, two massive and decisive saves on menacing attempts by Joao Pedro and Artur Ionita late in the game that secured a surprising Brescia win in Cagliari.

Giorgio Chiellini (9 points): the grizzled veteran decided the Juventus’ season-opener in Parma with a sly deflection in a scrum on a botched shot by a teammate. Then the usual reliable work on the other end.

Rodrigo Becao (9 points): he could not have asked for a better Serie A debut as he often bounced Krzysztof Piatek off his tracks with his physicality and buried the game-winning goal with a tremendous header. Continue reading

De Ligt surprised but respectful of decision and post-game reactions

Matthijs De Ligt talked to Dutch publication AD after last night’s game: “Naturally, I would have preferred to play. I did not get the clue during practice, so I did not expect to be benched, but I obviously respect the decision of the coach. I have to realistic, I am still adapting here in Italy. The two starters, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, have for long been considered the best duo in the world. I will have to fight for the job this season.”

On life in Italy: “I have enjoyed these first few weeks. It has been tough physically, but I have noticed that I am getting stronger. Defensively, the tasks are not much different from what I was used to at Ajax. Continue reading