Pirlo: "Winning a trophy does not change anything"
Juventus beat Napoli to win the Supercoppa Italiana and Andrea Pirlo is now looking for his side to discover some consistency in Serie A.
Andrea Pirlo is hopeful Juventus can use last week's Supercoppa Italiana success to get their Serie A title defence back on track. Juve saw off Napoli 2-0 in Reggio Emilia on Wednesday through goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Álvaro Morata as Pirlo claimed his first piece of silverware as a coach.
Consistency has been Juventus' problem
The nine-in-a-row Scudetto champions have struggled in the league this season, however, and sit 10 points adrift of pace-setters Milan with a game in hand on the leaders. After losing 2-0 away to Inter last time out in the top flight, Pirlo accepts that Juve must start showing more consistency if they are to retain their title.
"All matches are different but we need to continue entering the field with the attitude we had the other evening," he said at a news conference ahead of Sunday's home meeting with Bologna. "If we have this desire and concentration, positive results will come. Winning a trophy doesn't change my enthusiasm for the job. I have felt the same since day one. Winning a trophy does not change anything – I want to win others. I know we have to improve and continue growing as a team. We have had many ups and downs already, like many other teams. It's down to the number of games and not having the right preparation ahead of the season. It's hard to stay focused for the full 90 minutes every three days. It's something we are working on and know we have to improve on. It's our Achilles heel."
Juve seeping goals
Juve's return of 33 points is their joint-lowest at this stage of a Serie A campaign in the last 10 seasons, equal to their tally after 17 games in 2015-16. The Bianconeri have gone league games without a clean sheet, conceding eight goals during that run - including a 3-0 home reverse at the hands of Fiorentina.
Among Juventus coaches with at least 17 league games under their belt, only Alberto Zaccheroni (two) managed fewer clean sheets than Pirlo after as many matches. And Pirlo acknowledged the importance of tightening up at the back if his side are to climb up the standings. "You always have to work on aspects," he said. "There are so many teams that want to play football and develop their game. Maybe teams tend to attack more and defend less, leading to more open games. But if you have the best defence, you often win championships."
Pirlo attempted to freshen up his attack against Napoli by using Federico Chiesa and Dejan Kulusevski either side of Ronaldo, with Weston McKennie providing further support. The rookie coach is pleased with the tactical versatility of his players and reserved special praise for McKennie, who created more chances in the Supercoppa clash (three) than any other player on the field.
"McKennie is an important player for us," Pirlo said. "He has strength and dynamism, can play between the lines and gives us a lot in attack. Each of these players can exchange positions with Cristiano, as we saw the other night. Chiesa is another who can player on the left if he has to. As for Kulusevski, he can cover a number of positions. Perhaps in this period of his career, a second striker allows him to be freer so that is perhaps the best solution for him."