Andrea Pirlo admits Juventus had a ‘horrible’ first half in their Fiorentina draw, his experiment ‘didn’t work’ and he cannot be happy with his season so far.
The Bianconeri again disappointed on their travels, as Alvaro Morata scored with what appeared to be a wayward cross-shot just 31 seconds after coming off the bench.
He cancelled out the cheeky Dusan Vlahovic Panenka-style penalty, which was awarded for an Adrien Rabiot handling offence.
“It was a horrible first half. We should’ve started in a different way, because this was a fundamental fixture in the race for the Champions League places, but we were too slow, our distances were all wrong and we were always second to the ball,” confessed the coach on Sky Sport Italia.
Pirlo surprised by starting with a 3-5-2 formation with Paulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo upfront.
“After Danilo’s injury yesterday, we changed to three at the back, with Aaron Ramsey and Dybala between the lines. It didn’t work, so we introduced Morata after the break to give us a change of pace.
“Our first half was bad, the second a little better, but it still wasn’t good enough. We tried one thing and ended up doing something completely different, but we adjusted to the way we have done throughout the season and it went better.”
Dybala was substituted at the break, but did Pirlo ever feel tempted to substitute Cristiano Ronaldo instead?
“I don’t think Ronaldo did badly. He had a few chances and overall was not bad. It was the team that should’ve attacked the space more and we did see some of that in the second half, as Fiorentina had a high line.
“Dybala and Morata are two very different forwards. Morata runs into space, whereas Dybala ties the game together more.
“We tried to keep Ramsey wide, giving Juan Cuadrado the opportunity to push up, and we developed the play a different way. We didn’t do what we were supposed to in the first half.
“Arthur has a micro-fracture in his leg, he can’t train regularly, so we have to be careful how much he plays. If he is on the bench, it is purely due to his physical fitness.”
Pirlo was asked not about his future, but how much he had evolved as a coach since his first game on the Juventus bench?
“It is different, as the initial expectations both for me and the team were different. I don’t believe that we worked the way we wanted to.
“You learn with every game that goes by, but I am not happy considering the initial expectations and I don’t think the club is either.”