Andrea Pirlo has admitted he is fed up with Juventus failing to display enough imagination and ambition to overcome rivals' spoiling tactics.

A 2-2 derby draw with lowly Torino on Sunday followed a shock 1-0 loss to Benevento before the international break, with hopes of a 10th successive Scudetto now forlorn.

Pirlo's first season as head coach has been one of major underachievement given the quality within his squad, but Juventus have said they will support his plans to take the team forward.

It means Pirlo looks sure to get a second season, but he and the club's leadership will expect to see more from the team in 2021-22, with the coach telling his players their current level is not good enough.

"We've played lots of games so it's natural for a bit of fatigue to creep in but we can't let that happen," Pirlo said.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a 79th-minute leveller after Antonio Sanabria's double saw Torino overcome losing an early goal to Federico Chiesa. Rodrigo Bentancur fired against the post, but Juventus could not find a third goal.

"After we equalised we took control of the game again and hit the post, so we did respond well," Pirlo said. "But when we're up against sides that sit in and defend it's hard to play through the middle - we have to channel moves down the wings.

"We need to be a bit patient, keep the ball moving and attack down the flanks.

"Obviously I'm not happy when we don't win and we're dropping lots of points. We have to work hard on occupying the space better and finding more options between the lines."

Giorgio Chiellini said there were "too many mistakes" before looking ahead to Wednesday's clash with a Napoli side who could yet pip Juventus to a Champions League place.

Juventus sit fourth but are only ahead of fifth-placed Napoli on goal difference.

Chiellini, quoted on the club website, said: "We have to stick together, keep our heads down and carry on working hard every day.

"We have another important match on Wednesday and it's one we need to win. We must push on, keep giving our all and try to secure our minimum target, which is qualifying for the Champions League. We know it's going to be a battle until the end of the season."

Cristiano Ronaldo channelled his anger at Juventus' Champions League exit in midweek into a decisive display in the Bianconeri's 3-1 win over Cagliari on Sunday, according to head coach Andrea Pirlo. 

Juve were eliminated from Europe's elite club competition by Porto at the last-16 stage on Tuesday, going out on away goals after the tie finished 4-4 on aggregate after extra time at the Allianz Stadium.

Sergio Oliveira scored the decisive goal late on from a free-kick that went straight through the Juve wall, with Ronaldo turning his back on the effort.

Former Bianconeri boss Fabio Capello singled out Ronaldo, while ex-president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli suggested Juve should never have spent €100million to sign the forward in 2018.

He responded in superb fashion at the Sardegna Arena, though, scoring a hat-trick inside 32 minutes. 

Only once before had Ronaldo scored a quicker hat-trick from kick-off, doing so after 20 minutes against Espanyol for Real Madrid in 2015.

The Portugal international is now four clear of Inter striker Romelu Lukaku at the top of the Serie A scoring charts, with 23 goals from as many appearances. 

In total, Ronaldo has scored 87 times for club and country in March, making it his favourite month of the year in terms of goals, surpassing September (86), while he has now also netted at all 18 stadiums he has played at in Serie A.

Pirlo was pleased with Ronaldo's display and dismissed suggestions he might have received a red card for a high challenge on Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragno. 

"I think it was a classic situation during play, both of them were looking at the ball and didn't realise how close they were," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"He was angry the same way everyone was after the missed qualification, but he did his talking on the pitch with three goals and that's all that matters.

"It was the right approach, which we needed after failing to qualify the other day, and we started on the right foot.

"All we can do is focus on our own results, getting as many points as possible, winning as many games as possible and then at the end seeing where we are."

Juve's win takes them clear of fourth-placed Atalanta and to within one point of Milan, who play in Sunday's late game.

They remain 10 points behind leaders Inter, having played a game less than Antonio Conte's side, and defender Giorgio Chiellini insists the reigning champions are not thinking too much about the Serie A pacesetters. 

"It was a tough test, as Cagliari are a very good team," he said. "We've got Benevento up next and need to find that consistency we've been lacking so far this season.

"With all due respect for Inter, we have to focus only on our own results. Once we reach the end, we'll see where we are, but the only course we can take is to focus one game at a time and keep going.

"We spoke within the dressing room. This isn't the moment to be talking too much, our strength has always been giving our response on the pitch. I think if we maintain that unity, we'll do well."

Giorgio Chiellini will be monitored on a daily basis after scans revealed the Juventus defender suffered no muscle damage to his right calf against Porto. 

Chiellini was forced off in the first half of Juve's 2-1 Champions League defeat away in Portugal on Wednesday, Merih Demiral taking his place in the 35th minute. 

The Serie A side were already one goal down at that stage, while Moussa Marega added a second for Porto soon after the break. However, Federico Chiesa halved the deficit with a potentially crucial late away goal in the first leg of the last-16 tie. 

Porto will travel to Turin for the return fixture on March 9 and, having avoided any serious injury, Chiellini could be fit to feature on home soil. 

"Giorgio Chiellini underwent radiological examinations this morning at the J | Medical that excluded muscle injuries to his right calf. His condition will be monitored day by day," a statement from the club read. 

Andrea Pirlo's squad underwent a recovery session on Thursday as they turn their focus back to league matters. 

The reigning champions are next in Serie A action on Monday, when they host bottom club Crotone at the Allianz Stadium. 

Chiellini – who has helped the Bianconeri win nine straight top-flight titles in Italy – has made 15 appearances in all competitions this season, Pirlo's first in charge.

For so long, Real Madrid have been linked with Kylian Mbappe but will the LaLiga champions bring the French forward to the Santiago Bernabeu?

Mbappe is reportedly open to the idea of making the move to the Spanish capital.

However, Liverpool could be ready to hijack any transfer.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE TO MADRID?

Kylian Mbappe dominates the front pages of Tuesday's Diario AS and Mundo Deportivo as Real Madrid try to sign the Paris Saint-Germain star.

Mbappe – out of contract in 2022 – has been tipped to swap Ligue 1 holders PSG for LaLiga champions Madrid at the end of the season.

While the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic impacts Madrid, the Spanish giants are still working on a deal to prise the Frenchman to the Santiago Bernabeu, with Vinicius Junior a possible makeweight.

Mundo Deportivo says Premier League champions Liverpool are ready to pounce should Madrid fail to sign Mbappe.

 

ROUND-UP

- Onda Cero reports PSG have offered Madrid captain Sergio Ramos a three-year deal worth €15million a season. Ramos is set to become a free agent at the end of the season and the superstar has been linked with the likes of Manchester United and Juventus.

- Both Madrid and Barcelona are considering a shock move for Roma striker Edin Dzeko, according to Mundo Deportivo. Dzeko has had a falling out with under-fire head coach Paulo Fonseca, prompting links to Juve and Inter.

Thomas Tuchel is set to be named Frank Lampard's Chelsea replacement, with Fabrizio Romano claiming an announcement is "just a matter of time". Tuchel was sacked by PSG in December.

- The Athletic says Juve have identified Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres as a long-term replacement for veteran Giorgio Chiellini. Torres has also been linked with United, Manchester City, Barca, Madrid and Chelsea.

Tottenham have approached PSG's Angel Di Maria, who is out of contract at the end of the season, according to L'Equipe. Di Maria has history in England, having spent a difficult season playing for United in 2014-15.

- Sport 1 says Borussia Dortmund are interested in Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli. The likes of Juve and City have also emerged as suitors.

Page 3 of 3
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.