Maurizio Sarri has attributed Juventus’ lacklustre performance in the Coppa Italia final to “a lack of sharpness” as his side adjust to competitive football following a three-month hiatus.
Juventus were uninspiring as they lost to Napoli on penalties, particularly going forward, having just three shots on target for the entire evening. It was the second consecutive game where Sarri’s side have failed to find the back of the net, with the 61-year-old tactician blaming this on the fact that his players “lack the sharpness to turn [possession] into dangerous scoring opportunities”.
Speaking after the defeat, Sarri told RAI Sport (via Football Italia): “There is much disappointment for the club, the lads and the fans, but at this moment, we cannot do much more, because we are lacking sharpness.
“We were missing a few players and had to make some different choices to usual, because our fitness levels are not optimal. We keep the ball well, but lack the sharpness to turn that into dangerous scoring opportunities.
“We are struggling to get past opposition players when taking men on, we have a team built on individuals who can usually do that very well. I don’t think we’re lacking determination, because we were totally concentrated for 90 minutes and you can’t do that without determination.
“I think the problem is the characteristics, because these are players accustomed to taking men on and at the moment that’s just not coming off.
“It’s unusual, pretty much unique for us, but that just shows the lack of sharpness after such a long break.”
Notably, Cristiano Ronaldo gave another disappointing performance, but Sarri defended him, stating: “He’s in the same shape as the others, like Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa, he is lacking the sharpness to do what works for him.”
“I didn’t say much to the players after the game. I was angry and disappointed just like them, so at these moments it’s better to stay silent. We’ll talk better tomorrow morning.”
Sarri will be hoping that his team regain their sharpness by the time they face Bologna on Monday, with Juventus set to closely compete with Lazio for the Serie A title.