Sports News

Pirlo says Juventus are work in progress after Roma draw

ROME (Reuters) - Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo was disappointed by his sie’s performance in Sunday’s 2-2 Serie A draw at AS Roma but explained that his side was still a “work in progress”.

Soccer Football - Serie A - AS Roma v Juventus - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - September 27, 2020. Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

The Italian champions failed to impress in the capital and had a Cristiano Ronaldo double to thank as they came from behind twice, the second time while down to 10 men after Adrien Rabiot was shown a second yellow card.

“It was a step backwards, but as a team we are a work in progress,” Pirlo told Sky Italia.

“We haven’t had the chance to try much out in pre-season because there were practically no friendly matches.”

Pirlo was a surprising choice to succeed sacked coach Maurizio Sarri in August, as he had no previous coaching experience and had been appointed as the club’s Under-23 coach just a week earlier.

He oversaw an impressive 3-0 win against Sampdoria on his debut last weekend, but pointed out that new signings like striker Alvaro Morata and midfielder Arthur Melo are yet to be fully integrated.

“In the end it was one point gained,” he said.

“Morata arrived two days ago, Arthur hasn’t played for six months and needs to adapt to Italian football, even though he did well when he came on.”

Pirlo was questioned about Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan side, who appear to be the most likely challengers to Juventus in their quest for a 10th consecutive Serie A title.

“They are certainly stronger than they were last year and have strengthened,” he said.

“I don’t know if they are therefore better than us. We will certainly be battling it out until the end.”

Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; editing by Ian Chadband