Pirlo: ‘Juventus cannot lack character’

Andrea Pirlo warns Juventus cannot forget their ‘DNA’ after a comeback to beat Torino 2-1. ‘We cannot go into a derby lacking character.’

The Bianconeri failed to many any real impact for over an hour, going a goal down to an early Nicolas Nkoulou effort from a corner and risking a couple more.

However, both their goals late on were very similar, headers from Juan Cuadrado floated crosses to the back post by Weston McKennie and Leonardo Bonucci.

“It’s more exhausting as a player, very different as a coach, but the feeling of victory is the same,” smiled Pirlo on Sky Sport Italia.

“When you lose every challenge, it becomes difficult to control the game. We were too static, we never filled the box when we did manage to find some width to put a cross in and it’s difficult against a five-man defence.

“We remembered after the break that the Juventus DNA is to put in heart and sacrifice. Once you can pin Toro back into their own half, it becomes easier to get the breakthrough.

“Not everyone can always give 100 per cent, but those who came on provided determination, dynamism and attacking spirit, which is what won us the game.

“When opposition teams clam up and are very organised, you have to keep moving the ball to create the spaces and stretch them out. We didn’t do that in the first half, we did after the break.

“If we lack heart, we don’t move it as quickly either, and it all comes together. Sometimes, it’s not simple to find a breakthrough just by creating clean passing moves, you have to fight.”

Pirlo was asked if at times Juventus lost the passion and desire to win, rather getting into style over substance dead ends.

“It’s true, our DNA must remain at the centre of the whole team. At times, games do get messy, we concede after a few minutes and our opponents defend well.

“When you can’t style your way through, you have to find other ways. We do have to move the ball more quickly, as otherwise we give the opposition more time to get back into position, so it’s all the same thing really.

“A side like Juventus absolutely cannot go into a game lacking character, tenacity and hunger. You need the style and good football, but also the determination. You can’t just have one without the other.”

While double assist man Cuadrado was more direct, Federico Chiesa tended to go into these dead ends rather than getting straight to it.

“Cuadrado is a champion, he’s played at the highest level for 10 years, so he’s accustomed to this type of game. Until a few weeks ago, Chiesa had never played in Europe, while wearing the Juventus jersey is different to other clubs.

“When you introduce young players, you have to wait for them to develop, but also continue to trust why you bought them in the first place.”

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