Juventus huffed and puffed throughout the game but struggled to get past a solid rearguard effort from Ferencvaros until substitute Alvaro Morata caught the winner in time. While the 2-1 victory was deserved for the hosts, the visitors almost prevented the Bianconeri from sealing qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League with a courageous performance.
Speaking after the game, coach Andrea Pirlo summed up what he saw of the performance.
“We intended to start off with a different attitude, but we know there can be difficulties in games that look simple on paper. We were too superficial at first and had to chase the game.
“Our first press was not vehement, which is normal after so many matches to lose some intensity, but the important thing was not to stretch and allow counter attacks. We did this a few times in the first half, but then managed to settle in.
“I expected more from the players, but Ferencvaros fell back, we had to try to move the ball forward and backward faster to get them out of the way. We moved it too slowly, which made it easier for them to defend.
“Ferencvaros keeps a high line and invites you to attack them, but if you don’t do it at the right time, it is in their hands. When we had the right timing, we were almost always dangerous.
With Matthijs de Ligt the only center-back in form, Pirlo was relieved to see him come back from his shoulder pain in time for this game.
“We knew De Ligt was already captain at the age of 20 so we waited for his return and knew he would give us a lot both defending and keeping the team tight as he passed out from the back . ”
Midfielder Arthur, a summer addition in the Barcelona swap deal for Miralem Pjanic, came under heavy criticism for his conservative play and inability to unblock the opposition, a point of view with which Pirlo was daring. ‘agreement.
“He’s a bit of a pig today keeping the ball and trying to find more direct balls when he should have spread it widely and tried to spread the defense of Ferencvaros.
“He should have opened up the game more to create individual situations. If the ball moved too slowly, it allowed them to fall back into place.
“Not much at the moment, but he’s learning!”
Paulo Dybala eventually took the start but couldn’t claim a place in Pirlo’s starting XI in the future.
“Dybala didn’t do that well, but like I said he was injured and had to take antibiotics for weeks, so it’s only natural that he needs time to get back in shape. He needs to go beyond his limits in training to rediscover his form.