Juve boss Sarri unconvinced by idea of Ronaldo, Higuain, Dybala attack

By Sports Desk October 01, 2019

Maurizio Sarri is reluctant to commit to the idea of starting with Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala in the same Juventus line-up as he fears upsetting the balance of the team.

Juve were in cruise control in Tuesday's Champions League Group D encounter against Bayer Leverkusen as Higuain and Ronaldo goals sandwiched Federico Bernardeschi's effort in a 3-0 win at Allianz Stadium.

The goalscoring trio lined up alongside one another in Juve's attacking triumvirate, while Dybala replaced Higuain in the 83rd minute and teed up Ronaldo for his goal.

However, while the idea of Ronaldo, Higuain and Dybala in a front three is an exciting one, head coach Sarri is erring on the side of caution.

"If I am sitting in a bar, it seems like a good idea to me too. If I am on the bench, then I have to take the balance of the side into consideration," he told Sky Sport Italia in quotes translated by Football Italia.

"If the team in future finds a great deal of balance, then we can try it, but right now that seems premature."

Bernardeschi staked his own claim for regular starts with an impressive performance against Leverkusen and his efforts in training have caught Sarri's eye.

"I liked the way Bernardeschi trained over the last few days, Aaron Ramsey needed a rest, and we knew his pace would be of use," he added.

"It was difficult, as Bayer love possession and they are not easy to face, so they took a lot of energy out of us in the first half. After the break, they slowed down a little and we took control."

Opposing boss Peter Bosz conceded Juve were good value for the win, but felt the game swung on a poor headed clearance by Jonathan Tah from which Higuain brilliantly controlled and rifled home the opener.

"We had a clear defeat. We did well in the first half but we were not able to create chances and made the mistake that led us to the goal," he said. 

"It is the difference between those who have experience in the Champions League and those who are building [in] it.

"This is the demonstration of challenging a team like Juventus."

Related items

  • Cuba 0-4 United States: Morris, Sargent send Berhalter's men into semis Cuba 0-4 United States: Morris, Sargent send Berhalter's men into semis

    The United States moved into the CONCACAF Nations League semi-finals after a 4-0 win over Cuba on Tuesday.

    USA were ahead inside a minute in the Cayman Islands through Josh Sargent and never looked back, Jordan Morris adding a first-half brace.

    Morris continued his fine run of form for USA before Sargent sealed his side's victory during a quieter second half.

    The win ensured Gregg Berhalter's side of top spot in Group A of League A and a spot in the semi-finals on goal difference.

    USA opened the scoring inside 40 seconds through Sargent.

    Paul Arriola did the hard work down the right before crossing for Sargent, who scored from close range as he put Cuba goalkeeper Sandy Sanchez under pressure.

    USA dominated the first half and Weston McKennie had a goal-bound effort cleared off the line by Erick Rizo in the eighth minute.

    However, the visitors doubled their lead through Morris, who made no mistake in a one-on-one with Sanchez after a great flick-on header by McKennie.

    Morris struck again six minutes before half-time, although the forward seemed apologetic to Aaron Long.

    Long's ball from the left side of the area went over Sanchez and Morris tapped in on the goal-line to make it 3-0.

    After a quieter start to the second half, USA added to their lead through Sargent's second.

    Tyler Boyd flicked Reggie Cannon's back-post cross into the path of Sargent, who converted from inside the area in the 66th minute.

    USA cruised late on, easing to an important victory and seeing Cuba finish without a point in the group.

     

    What does it mean? USA put Canada hiccup aside

    A 2-0 loss to Canada in Toronto in October had Berhalter under enormous pressure at the helm, but USA have responded. Wins over Canada (4-1) and Cuba this international break – and a spot in the semi-finals – have surely been enough to ease the pressure on Berhalter.

    USA developing fast-start habit

    For the second game in a row, USA scored inside two minutes. They also netted three times in the opening nine minutes against Cuba in October and Berhalter will be hoping they can continue their fast starts going forward.

    Morris caps off stellar 2019

    Morris' brace meant he has scored in four of his past five appearances for USA. The Seattle Sounders forward has netted five of his 10 international goals since September in a fine run of form.

    What's next?

    Both countries have played their final games of the year, but USA can look forward to the Nations League semi-finals in June 2020.

  • Spurs sack Pochettino: Did Tottenham make the right decision? Spurs sack Pochettino: Did Tottenham make the right decision?

    Tottenham have sacked Mauricio Pochettino, bringing an end to his five-year tenure in charge after a run of dismal results in the Premier League this season.

    Three wins from 12 league matches have left Tottenham in 14th place, albeit only three points off fifth, while they also lost 7-2 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League last month.

    Four successive top-four finishes and a Champions League final appearance will be Pochettino's lasting legacy and he also oversaw Tottenham's transition to a new, state-of-the-art stadium.

    With the debate sure to continue over whether Spurs have made a harsh call, and plenty of speculation to come over who will replace him, two of our writers argue the case for and against Pochettino's sacking.

    Tottenham have got it wrong - Tom Webber

    Spurs defied expectations under the Argentinian and he underlined his status as an elite manager by leading them to the Champions League final last term.

    While that game ended in defeat to Liverpool and left Pochettino without a trophy, their European run was combined with a fourth straight top-four finish, showing they had a leader capable of taking them to new heights.

    However, their transfer business in the close season was a source of frustration for Pochettino, and he made no attempt to hide that.

    While Tanguy Ndombele was a club-record signing from Lyon and Giovani Lo Celso provided another creative option in midfield, there were no other additions capable of immediately pushing the team forward.

    Spurs let Kieran Trippier go and did not sign a replacement, leaving them exposed at right-back, while Danny Rose was seemingly retained against Pochettino's wishes.

    By failing to give the 47-year-old the backing his work deserved, Spurs have now shot themselves in the foot twice and will only have themselves to blame if things go backwards from here.

    Tottenham have got it right - Patric Ridge

    Given what Pochettino has achieved during his time at Tottenham, the decision to cut ties seems a ruthless one when viewed in isolation, but that would not be taking into account what has been a dismal 2019 for Spurs on the domestic front.

    In this calendar year, Tottenham have taken just 40 points from a possible 90 on offer in the Premier League, winning 11 matches, drawing a further seven and suffering 12 defeats.

    Their poor form was, of course, masked by an incredible run to the Champions League final, but it is easy to forget Spurs were heading out in Amsterdam until Lucas Moura took matters into his own hands in a match that could easily have gone the other way.

    Looking only at their league results this term, three wins from 14 league matches would be enough to get many managers in the top flight sacked. Why not Pochettino? 

    While it is fair to say Tottenham did perhaps not back him as they should have done in the transfer market, the club did spend big. It is hard to imagine he did not have the final say on who was brought in.

    Was a creative force such as Lo Celso, for example, strictly necessary when it was so obvious Tottenham lacked a quality right-back or alternatives up front – weaknesses that were exposed in humiliating fashion by Bayern last month?

    The situation with Christian Eriksen has not helped, but again Pochettino must take his fair share of responsibility; looking back, any players dallying over signing fresh deals – see also Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen – have been ostracised during his time in north London. Is this the wisest approach when Tottenham have not had the squad depth to be able to cope with key players sitting idly by?

    With the Premier League seemingly wide open – at least outside the top four – this season, Tottenham could not afford to delay any longer and, on the back of a five-match winless league run, they desperately need a fresh source of inspiration.

  • Spurs sack Pochettino: Other clubs would have built him a statue, says Crouch Spurs sack Pochettino: Other clubs would have built him a statue, says Crouch

    Former Tottenham striker Peter Crouch was "flabbergasted" by Spurs sacking Mauricio Pochettino, claiming other clubs would have rewarded him with a statue.

    Pochettino and his coaching staff dismissed on Tuesday with Tottenham winless in their past five Premier League matches and sitting 14th.

    But the former Southampton boss led Spurs to their first Champions League final in June, overseeing incredible victories against Manchester City and Ajax before missing out on the trophy to Liverpool.

    Crouch, who came through Tottenham's academy and played for the club between 2009 and 2011, could not believe how quickly Pochettino's achievements had been forgotten.

    "I'm flabbergasted by Tottenham's decision," ex-England star Crouch wrote in the Daily Mail.

    "I know results have been poor and I understand why the top teams act when their potential to qualify for the following season's Champions League is in jeopardy, but it is ridiculous to think Pochettino has suddenly lost his spark.

    "He led Tottenham into the Champions League final on June 1. Some clubs, who aren't accustomed to that stage, would build a statue for a manager who took them to the biggest game in club football.

    "But all Pochettino has got is his marching orders. I fear it is a decision Tottenham will regret."

    He added: "[Pochettino] was the best thing that had happened to them for 20 years. Good luck to them if they think they can find someone better."

    Jose Mourinho is reportedly in line to replace Pochettino at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.