July 16, 2020 / 9:21 AM / 21 days ago

Sarri baffled by Juve's ups and downs

MILAN (Reuters) - Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri says he is “perplexed” by his team’s ups and downs after the Serie A leaders gave him another rollercoaster ride in a 3-3 draw against Sassuolo.

Soccer Football - Serie A - U.S. Sassuolo v Juventus - Mapei Stadium - Citta del Tricolore, Reggio Emilia, Italy - July 15, 2020 Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

The Turin side, seven points clear with five games left, are still on course for an unprecedented ninth successive title but that is as much down to Inter Milan’s inconsistent form and Lazio’s recent collapse as their own results.

“At times we give the impression of having very high potential and at other times the team leave me perplexed because they allow the opponents to get to our area easily,” said Sarri.

Juventus won their previous five titles under Massimiliano Allegri, whose team were efficient but often lacked sparkle. Sarri was hired to make them more entertaining, which he has done, but not quite in the way Juventus had bargained for.

In their last three matches Juve have scored seven goals, conceded nine and taken two points. They have twice squandered two-goal leads in the process.

“After we went 2-0 ahead, we should have kept Sassuolo in their half of the pitch by holding possession,” said Sarri. “But we tore forward, trying to goals score with two passes and leaving a gap of 30 to 40 metres (in midfield) which leads to an end-to-end game.

“It’s a waste of energy — we need to dribble more, to keep the opponents in their own half.”

Cristiano Ronaldo was not his usual self, with Gazzetta dello Sport awarding the five-times World Player of the Year ‘five out of 10’ - the lowest on the Juve team.

“He missed an empty goal (albeit from a distance), wasted an assist from Danilo and one by Federico Bernardeschi, and had one shot, which was saved,” it said.

Juve’s lead could be cut to six points if Inter Milan win at bottom side SPAL later on Thursday.

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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