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While Gattuso was hailing his players’ passion, though, Sarri was lamenting his side’s lack of “sharpness”.
Such sluggishness could, of course, be attributed to the three-month suspension of play caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
However, it is not as if Juve were playing well before the break. Indeed, they have won just four of their last 10 games in all competitions.
Sarri was hired by Juve to not only win trophies, but do so in style. Right now, they are doing neither.
Juve’s Juan Cuadrado claimed after the final that “Napoli defended with 11 men behind the ball” and the Partenopei certainly sat deep, just as they had against Inter in the semis.
However, it would be outrageous to suggest that Gattuso’s side had done nothing but defend – or that they didn’t deserve to win the game.
Juventus were not unlucky to lose on penalties; they were lucky to have made it that far. Had it not been for veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, the Bianconeri would have lost in normal time.
The 42-year-old made a string of sensational and crucial saves during the 90 minutes and was one of the few Juve players to have performed well, along with defenders Matthijs de Ligt and Alex Sandro.
For the most part, Juve were dire, certainly from an offensive perspective, with the midfield once again proving utterly devoid of creativity.
It was Napoli who carried the great attacking threat throughout. They had seven shots on goal alone; Juve managed just three.
Gattuso’s side may not be easy on the eye, but neither are Juve, who are not even as effective as Napoli, as Wednesday’s game so painfully proved.
There was only one team on the pitch with a clear idenity; one team that carried out their coach’s instructions to perfections. And it was not the side bidding for a ninth consecutive Scudetto.
Ahead of this weekend’s resumption of play in Serie A, Juve sit top of the table, one point ahead of Lazio, who beat the Bianconeri in this season’s Supercoppa Italiana and still have to travel to Turin in the league.
The Old Lady remain favourites in the title race because of their superior strength in depth, but this performance will have only instilled the Biancocelesti with more confidence.
Buffon told DAZN before the final that Sarri’s “real Juventus” will only emerge next season, but will he be given that long? Patience is already wearing thin.
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