Juventus eager to get going again in 2021 after Fiorentina fiasco

By Ben Spratt 3 January 2021 22
Juventus eager to get going again in 2021 after Fiorentina fiasco

Andrea Pirlo has been encouraged by the attitude of his Juventus players since their return to training after a home humbling at the hands of Fiorentina brought an awful end to 2020.

Rookie coach Pirlo had been unbeaten in Serie A heading into the final match of last year, with only Juve and leaders Milan yet to taste defeat across Europe's 'top five' leagues at that point.

But the Bianconeri lost that record after they went down 3-0 in Turin following Juan Cuadrado's early red card, just their second home league loss to Fiorentina in 30 years.

A short mid-season break gave the sixth-placed defending champions time to stew on that painful result, which followed a 1-1 draw with Atalanta in their previous home match.

Not since early in the 2015-16 season have Juve gone three home games without a win, however, and Pirlo's men are determined to bounce back when they host Udinese on Sunday.

"I found the players well after a period of vacation," Pirlo told Juventus TV. "On Monday, I found a team eager to restart after the last bad performance.

"We have almost all the players back, so we now look to make a good recovery in the league.

"We talked about the match against Fiorentina, which was completely wrong in terms of attitude and everything; we couldn't end 2020 like this.

"There was a nice meeting where we talked and discussed future goals, so it was also productive."

Although Juve are 10 points off the pace with a game in hand, having drawn six times in 13 matches, Pirlo saw "good progress" in the first part of the campaign.

The Bianconeri won the Scudetto in 2001-02 when they were last held as many as six times through 13 rounds and a similar late-season improvement is anticipated this term.

"I would not like to see more matches like the one with Fiorentina," Pirlo added. "But for the rest, we made a good progress, improving on many aspects.

"I am convinced that we can do even better, because we have everything to be able to do much better."

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