Andrea Pirlo will consider no longer placing Cristiano Ronaldo in defensive walls after Juventus conceded from another free-kick in their win against Parma.

Ronaldo covered his face and failed to jump as Gaston Brugman lifted a superb 25-yarder over the five-man Juve wall and past a stationary Gianluigi Buffon.

The home side recovered from that setback thanks to a couple of Alex Sandro goals either side of half-time and a header from fellow defender Matthijs de Ligt.

However, Pirlo was not overly pleased with his side's display and hinted Ronaldo - criticised for turning his back on Sergio Oliveira's extra-time free-kick that saw Porto knock Juve out of the Champions League last 16 - will no longer form part of the wall.

"Unfortunately, these things happen, but we'll have to evaluate it over the next few days," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"We made life difficult for ourselves with that opening goal, then ran a few other risks on set-plays. It's a pity because we'd done well defending from dead-ball situations this season."

Juventus have now conceded goals in each of their last eight Serie A games, which is their longest such streak since May 2019.

Pirlo had a couple of defenders to thank for bailing his side out, with Alex Sandro scoring more goals against Parma in Wednesday's clash than he managed in his previous 115 matches in all competitions.

While the under-fire boss is happy to have come away with all three points, he accepted there is still plenty of room for improvement.

"We were too distant in the first half and that slowed down the passing movement," he said.

"Maybe we don't maintain the same concentration and pace from match to match. Sometimes we are a little slow, we hold onto the ball, allow the opposition to occupy the space and it all grinds to a halt.

"We did well to turn it around and the win was important for our confidence as we played well and needed to take home the three points.

"We have instinctive players, but must also give them directions on the positions to hold. They did it better in the second half than the first, especially with the body positioning to receive the ball."

The win for Juve moves them into third, one point above fourth-placed Atalanta and five ahead of Napoli in fifth, both of whom have a game in hand in a tight battle for Champions League qualification.

It was an important victory in more ways than one for the fallen champions amid a backdrop of unrest over the European Super League proposal, which is now in tatters after the vast majority of teams pulled the plug.

Juve chairman Andrea Agnelli was one of the chief architects of the breakaway plans and Pirlo reiterated his pre-match comments that, while he is not against change, the club must "respect the rules".

"Agnelli explained what was happening, but that the most important thing was to secure a place in the top four to qualify for the Champions League," Pirlo said. "He reassured and encouraged us ahead of this game.

"I already spoke about [the Super League] yesterday, so did the president and the director. We all know the same things. 

"Something has to be changed on the European level, because the ideas that were proposed were good ones, but we are also open to other suggestions and will respect the rules."

Andrea Pirlo and his Juventus team are "calm" about the club's involvement in the breakaway European Super League and remain focused on first qualifying for the Champions League.

Juve were among 12 elite clubs to announce plans to launch a lucrative new continental competition on Sunday. All founding clubs would controversially be guaranteed participation every season.

Bianconeri chairman Andrea Agnelli is at the forefront of the plans, prompting criticism from UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who is charged with organising the rival Champions League.

Ceferin has made a number of threats towards the dozen clubs involved, including the suggestion their players could be banned from international fixtures.

But Pirlo is confident the saga is not providing a distraction ahead of Juve's game on Wednesday against Parma, who they could beat in four successive Serie A meetings for the first time.

Three points would be particularly precious with Pirlo's men in fourth, struggling to qualify for the Champions League.

While Super League proposals suggested a swift start to the new tournament, meaning Juve would no longer play in UEFA's competition, Agnelli has encouraged the players to ensure they finish in the top four this term.

"We are focused on what we need to do and that is to qualify for the Champions League," Pirlo said.

"This morning the president told us about the Super League. We are calm, because the president is planning this thing, but we have to think about the present, which is qualification for the Champions League.

"[The Super League] is a development for the world of football. There's been a lot of change over the years, but I'm not the right person to explain this.

"The president is at the forefront and he will be better able to explain things as they are these days, as the other presidents are doing.

"I didn't hear anything further from the president, because we see him most days and so he's always been close to the team.

"He explained the project to us broadly, not in detail, but he gave us great confidence and told us that the most important thing is to continue our work to earn the Champions League on the field.

"For now, [the Super League] is just a project and [the players] have to rest easy because football goes on.

"They know that the present is tomorrow's game and they must focus on the present and Parma."

Juve have lost five of their 31 league games so far this season, their most at this stage of a campaign since 2010-11 (nine) - the last time the title went anywhere other Turin.

The most recent of those defeats came last time out against Atalanta, but Pirlo was without Cristiano Ronaldo.

The coach confirmed Ronaldo, along with Gianluigi Buffon and Paulo Dybala, would start against Parma, one of the superstar forward's favourite opponents.

He has scored two or more goals in three games against Parma in Serie A. Against no side has he done so more often, also netting at least twice in three matches with Cagliari.

Andrea Pirlo claimed Juventus will qualify for next season's Champions League "no problem" as he lamented Cristiano Ronaldo's absence in a damaging Serie A defeat to Atalanta.

Pirlo's side suffered a 1-0 loss at the Gewiss Stadium on Sunday as they again struggled without the influential presence of Portugal forward Ronaldo.

Juventus have drawn three and lost one of the four games Ronaldo has missed in Serie A this season.

The Bianconeri's lack of cutting edge up front was emphasised by the fact they managed to register 11 shots in the contest but only one of them was on target.

Atalanta's victory, secured by Ruslan Malinovskiy's late goal, was their first win over the Bianconeri in Serie A since 2001 and saw them leapfrog the Scudetto holders into third place.

"If we play with this spirit and desire to bring home the result, I am convinced there will be no problem achieving our objective," Pirlo told Sky Italia.

"We played the match we needed to, then they were lucky with the late goal, but we played with great determination and aggression. It's disappointing, we could've brought home at least a point

"We have not faced all our games with the same attitude and determination.

"It's a completely different team when we have those elements, but despite me pointing it out, we have dropped too many points by not having the right attitude in the smaller fixtures.

"We knew Atalanta would make it a duel all over the field, so that's how we prepared it. We kept good possession, covered the spaces, Atalanta can force you to play differently to other situations, but we did well."

Ronaldo has scored 25 goals and provided three assists in Serie A this season. 

The 36-year-old missed the match with a thigh injury but is expected to be fit enough for Juve's Serie A clash with Parma on Wednesday.

Pirlo acknowledged he would have been ideal for a tight match against Gian Piero Gasperini's side.

He said: "It’s no coincidence Ronaldo scored 25 goals this season and he was excellent in the first game with Atalanta too. 

"He suits these games well and is our main finisher. When missing the killer instinct in the box, it's slightly different.

"Cristiano wasn't available, but whoever went on the pitch did what he had to do. I'm satisfied with the performance.

"We didn't take advantage of the chances that happened to us in the first half. But we knew it would be an intense match. I have nothing to blame my players for."

Pirlo was asked if he felt under pressure given Juve's difficult season and speculation about his job, but added: "I've been used to it since I was a player. I let them talk."

Ruslan Malinovskiy's late effort consigned Juventus to a 1-0 defeat at Atalanta and struck a blow to their chances of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

Only four minutes remained of Sunday's Serie A contest when Malinovskiy's effort deflected past Wojciech Szczesny to secure the points for Atalanta, who leapfrog Juve into third place in the table.

The Bianconeri were without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo and his absence was acutely felt as Andrea Pirlo's side lacked a cutting edge in attack.

Juve have now drawn three and lost one of their games in Serie A this season where Ronaldo has been absent.

Cristiano Ronaldo will miss Juventus' Serie A clash with Atalanta on Sunday because of a thigh problem as head coach Andrea Pirlo blamed the player's workload.

The Portugal forward has been struggling with the injury sustained in Juve's 3-1 win over Genoa last Sunday and has not taken a full part in training this week, with Paulo Dybala set to start instead.

Juventus have drawn all three of the Serie A games Ronaldo has missed in this campaign, scoring just three goals in the process.

In the league fixtures where Ronaldo has played a part this season, Juve have a win percentage of 66.7 per cent from 27 games (18 wins, five draws and four losses) and have scored an average of 2.1 goals per game.

Pirlo lamented Ronaldo's absence and acknowledged the number of games the 36-year-old has played for club and country in a short timeframe have taken a toll on his fitness.

"Ronaldo will not be in for the match tomorrow," Pirlo said at a media conference on Saturday.

"In recent days he has not been able to recover from the flexor problem after last Sunday's game, he does not feel able to push it and would have risked it too much. 

"We have decided to leave him at rest and we will try to recover him for Wednesday's match [against Parma]. This problem arose already on Monday after the game. He tried and went out with the team [in training] but couldn't push as he wanted.

"It was too risky to push it. The many matches, even those with the national team, influenced him and so many games did not allow him to recover.

"He has always been in good condition, then the matches in the national team accumulated. He too told me that he shouldn't have played the third game, but then that goal [against Serbia] was cancelled and they didn't get six points. 

"They forced him to play the third as well, otherwise he would have returned to Juventus before the third."

Atalanta’s last win against Juventus in Serie A came back in February 2001 and since then the Bianconeri have won 24 of the 32 league games between the two sides, drawing eight.

However, Juve have won only one of their last six games against Atalanta (D4 L1) when all competitions are taking into account, getting that victory in November 2019 in Bergamo.

Defending champions Juve are third in Serie A heading into Sunday's games – sitting 12 points behind leaders Inter, and a point ahead of Atalanta in fourth.

Pirlo added: "We have focused ourselves on a new goal, which is not the one suitable for Juventus who have always fought to win the championship.

"But unfortunately the points are a bit distant and the goal must be to finish the season well and reach the final goal [of Champions League qualification].

"We have worked well during the week knowing that Atalanta are a team with particular characteristics.

"They play a different football than the other teams and therefore we tried moves to counter their fierce pressure. We worked intensely during the week and I'm happy and confident for the game."

Andrea Pirlo had no issues with Cristiano Ronaldo throwing his shirt on the ground after failing to score in Juventus' Serie A victory over Genoa.

Dejan Kulusevski, Alvaro Morata and Weston McKennie were on target as Juve took another step towards sealing a Champions League spot with a 3-1 win at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.

Ronaldo has found the back of the net 32 times for the Bianconeri this season, but cut a frustrated figure after he was unable to add to his tally in Turin.

The Portugal captain struck the post in the first half before Morata followed up to double Juve's lead and hit the target only twice in six attempts.

Ronaldo whipped off his shirt and hurled it on the turf following the final whistle and head coach Pirlo had no problem with that reaction.

Pirlo said: "He was keen on scoring. He is one of the champions because they always want to leave their mark, but these are normal things that happen."

Juve came under pressure after dominating the first half and were in danger of losing their lead following Gianluca Scamacca's goal early in the second half.

Pirlo was concerned by the manner in which they let Genoa come back into the game.

He added: "It all seemed easy, at the end of the first half we suffered an opportunity due to lack of concentration.

"It had happened to us in other games, it could cost us dearly. We entered the field wanting to play the game but we sat back."

Paulo Dybala had to once again settle for being introduced as a substitute after coming off the bench to score in a huge win over Napoli amid speculation over his future.

Pirlo defended his decision not to start the playmaker, who spent a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a knee injury.

The former Italy midfielder said: "I'm lucky enough to coach the champions and Dybala is one of them so I try to be able to make the most of him in every game.

"We didn't have him available very much this year, now he's back and it will help us to give us a hand in this final rush. The managers are there for these decisions."

Juventus' win over Napoli in midweek will be rendered "meaningless" if they do not follow it up with another three points against Genoa on Sunday, according to head coach Andrea Pirlo. 

The Bianconeri bounced back from a 2-2 derby draw against Torino last weekend with a slender 2-1 victory over Gennaro Gattuso's Napoli on Wednesday to move to within one point of second-placed Milan. 

They host Genoa at the Allianz Stadium looking to achieve a fourth consecutive Serie A win against Davide Ballardini's men for the first time since 2008.

Pirlo was pleased with his side's approach against Napoli and says it is imperative his players have the same attitude on Sunday.

"It's perhaps much easier to find the right spirit in a big match like Napoli, but we need the same attitude even against smaller clubs, starting from tomorrow," he told a media conference.

"We need to find some consistency and that means facing tomorrow's game with ferocity. Beating Napoli is meaningless unless we follow it up with the same performance against Genoa."

Paulo Dybala came off the bench to score the decisive goal against Napoli, steering a fine finish past Alex Meret after Cristiano Ronaldo's first-half opener.

He has scored seven league goals against Genoa, including his first Serie A hat-trick in August 2017 – only against Udinese (eight) has he scored more in the competition.

With a year to run on his contract, it has been suggested Juve could look to move Dybala on after this season, but Pirlo insists the Argentina international remains a key part of his plans. 

"I don't think Dybala will start, because he was out for three months, so he needs another slightly longer spell as a substitute first," he said. 

"I've always said Dybala is an important player and unfortunately I haven't had him at my disposal very much this season. Let's look at the present, because that is more important than the future.

"He still has a year left on his contract, so we will have him here next season. Dybala is a player who makes the difference. 

"I do hope to be able to use Ronaldo, Alvaro Morata and Dybala together at some point. I can say it's probable Dejan Kulusevski will start tomorrow."

Gianluigi Buffon proved his worth to Juventus in their vital win at Napoli on Wednesday, but Andrea Pirlo will restore Wojciech Szczesny as his first-choice goalkeeper.

World Cup winner Buffon, now 43, is firmly behind Szczesny in the pecking order in Turin, yet he was given a rare opportunity for the huge midweek Serie A match.

The veteran, who returned to the club from Paris Saint-Germain in 2019, made three saves as strikes from team-mates Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala set the Bianconeri on their way to victory.

Only a 90th-minute Lorenzo Insigne penalty denied Buffon a clean sheet as Juve moved three points clear of their opponents, who sit in fifth - just outside the Champions League places.

But Buffon should not expect to reprise this starting role on a regular basis, despite Szczesny committing an error leading to a goal in the weekend draw with city rivals Torino.

"I had already spoken to the lad [Szczesny]," said Pirlo, who had suggested earlier in the week Szczesny would play.

"He was already tired when he was back from the national team because he had played three games in a row, so he needed some mental rest and to recover his energy.

"It was already in my mind to have Gigi play, but [Szczesny] remains the main goalkeeper of Juventus."

 

Even besides the mishap against Torino, Buffon's output since returning to Juve has been more than a match for the number one.

Among goalkeepers in Europe's 'top five' leagues to play 25 games or more in all competitions since the start of last season, Buffon's save rate of 80.2 per cent trails only Sevilla's Yassine Bounou.

None of these keepers have conceded fewer goals than Buffon (18), while again Bounou is the only man conceding fewer goals per game (0.7 for Buffon).

With 11 clean sheets in 26 outings, he ranks ninth for clean sheet percentage (42).

Meanwhile, discounting penalties and own goals, Buffon has conceded 14 times over the past two seasons despite having an expected goals on target (xGOT) conceded total of 17.1, meaning he has prevented 3.1 goals.

This season alone, among goalkeepers to play 10 times or more, Buffon again ranks second for save percentage, his 81.8 this time trailing Sergio Rico.

 

Across the past two campaigns, Szczesny has saved 72.7 per cent of shots he has faced, but has conceded on average 1.1 goals per game and collected a clean sheet in just 31 per cent of his appearances.

He has prevented 7.7 goals - with a 66.7 xGOT conceded versus 59 non-penalty goals - albeit having played 68 matches, 42 more than Buffon.

In 2020-21, Szczesny has conceded a goal per game and kept out 71.3 per cent of shots on his goal.

With Buffon set to again lose his place despite remaining at the forefront of the European game, it would support Gianluca Pagliuca's suggestion the Juve great should have retired rather than return to Turin to sit on the bench.

Pagliuca told Stats Perform News: "If I was him, I have already retired. I would have retired after PSG. It was a good idea to go to Paris because it's a big club and he was playing regularly.

"Buffon on the bench? Happy to play only in Coppa Italia? It's not great.

"Someone with his career, it's better to retire when you are 41 and you are still playing than having a couple of years on the bench. He is still a really good goalkeeper.

"The best thing was to retire after PSG, considering his career. Maybe he still wants to compete. However, we have to think he's been the best goalkeeper in the football history."

Andrea Pirlo is hopeful Paulo Dybala will stay at Juventus after the forward came off the bench to secure a Serie A win over Napoli.

Dybala scored as a substitute in a league game on Wednesday for the first time since March 2020, steering a fine finish past Alex Meret in Juve's 2-1 win after Cristiano Ronaldo's first-half opener.

It proved to be the decisive goal, with Juve having been left living dangerously in the closing minutes after a late penalty from Lorenzo Insigne.

With a year to run on his contract, it has been suggested Juve could look to move Dybala on after this season, but head coach Pirlo is keen to keep the Argentina international.

Indeed, Pirlo believes Dybala would have made a greater impact this season had he not missed nearly four months of action with a knee injury.

"When you have a player like Dybala at your disposal, you always try to let him play. We've almost never had him," he told Sky Sport.

"When you miss someone like this, it becomes difficult, and when he comes back he helps you win.

"He still has a year on his contract. We hope to be able to keep him."

The win saw Juve bounce back from their shock 1-0 home loss to Benevento last week, but league leaders Inter remain 12 points ahead after beating Sassuolo 2-1.

Pirlo accepts the champions have themselves to blame for allowing such a gap to open up, but he was delighted with the attitude shown by his players against Gennaro Gattuso's side.

"We've lost a lot of points. We gave up too many chances on the road that led us to having this gap to the leaders," he said.

"When you sacrifice yourself for everyone in the game, you get the great benefit of the result. Everyone sacrificed themselves. Cristiano, too, when someone was out of position, he ran backwards."

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane said "Juventus are still important to me" amid links with the under-fire Serie A champions.

First-year Juve coach Andrea Pirlo is under mounting pressure in Turin, where the Italian giants are fourth in Serie A and in danger of missing out on Champions League qualification for next season.

Cristiano Ronaldo's Juve were stunned by Portuguese side Porto in the Champions League last 16 this term.

Former boss Massimiliano Allegri – who left in 2019 – has been linked with a return after meeting president Andrea Agnelli.

Zidane spent five years at Juventus, winning two Serie A titles among other honours before joining Madrid in 2001, and the Frenchman did not rule out a possible Bianconeri reunion.

"Both, Italy is in my heart, I spent five years in Turin and Juventus are still important to me," Zidane told Sky Italia.

"Future at Juve? For now I'm here, we'll see," 

Zidane was speaking after Madrid defeated Liverpool 3-1 in the opening leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie on Tuesday.

Vinicius Junior scored twice for hosts Madrid in the Spanish capital, where Marco Asensio was also on target against the Premier League holders in the absence of centre-back duo Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.

Toni Kroos teed up Vinicius for the opening goal with an exceptional pass in the 27th minute before Trent Alexander-Arnold's error gifted Asensio a goal of his own nine minutes later.

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah reduced the deficit six minutes into the second half, but Vinicius restored Madrid's two-goal advantage within 14 minutes.

Aged 20 years and 268 days, Vinicius became the second youngest goalscorer for LaLiga holders Madrid in a Champions League knockout match after 18-year-old Raul netted against Juventus in March 1996.

"I'm happy for him because he needed to score, like Marco [Asensio] or Karim [Benzema] do," said Zidane, who took charge of his 50th Champions League fixture with his 31st victory – only Jupp Heynckes (32) won more of his first 50 managerial games in the competition than the Frenchman.

"He's playing well, he's helping the team and he gets a boost by scoring a goal.

"Vini was lacking goals and he's going to gain a lot of confidence from today. He deserves it.

"I don't know if it was his best game [at Real Madrid], but two goals in a quarter final is something very important."

Madrid have progressed from 15 of their last 16 Champions League knockout matches after winning the opening leg, only failing to do so against Ajax in the 2018-19 round of 16.

In all European competition, no side has beaten Liverpool more often than Real Madrid (four, level with Benfica), with the Reds suffering defeat in each of the last four encounters with Los Blancos.

"We studied Liverpool pretty well before the game and prevented them from playing their way," Zidane said ahead of Saturday's Clasico showdown with LaLiga rivals Barcelona.

"We weren't going to play with three at the back with Varane, 4-3-3 was the preferred choice from the start."

"3-1 is a deserved victory, I'm proud of my team, we're in good form but the players are very tired now. I hope we recover well for the Clasico."

Zidane added: "We haven't won anything. We're happy with what we're doing. What the players are doing is tremendous considering the difficulties we've had."

Andrea Pirlo was not concerned by a meeting between former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri and president Andrea Agnelli, insisting he retains the support of the Serie A champions.

Reports this week revealed Allegri, who won five Scudetti in five seasons in Turin, had met with Bianconeri chief Agnelli.

That appeared to increase pressure on Pirlo, whose first season as a senior coach has badly gone off the rails.

Juve are fourth heading into Wednesday's game against Napoli, who are fifth on the same number of points.

After nine consecutive Serie A titles, Juve risk missing out on Champions League qualification for next season.

But Pirlo feels he still has the backing of Agnelli, who informed him of the encounter with Allegri, a coach who has been without a job since his departure in 2019.

"There is no position," Pirlo said ahead of the Napoli game. "I was warned by the president himself about the meeting with Allegri.

"Football is one thing, friendship is another. I have a daily relationship with Agnelli, we tell each other everything that happens.

"I knew about this meeting and I know I have his confidence, then obviously it's up to me to prove that I can be the coach for next season as well."

Pirlo might find the going tough against Napoli, as the Partenopei arrive in Turin on a four-match winning run in Serie A.

Napoli have also won their previous two games against Juve, while they have a joint-high five wins over the Bianconeri since the start of their sequence of nine championships in a row.

Pirlo will also be without Merih Demiral, Leonardo Bonucci and Federico Bernardeschi following positive coronavirus tests, but the coach insisted he had no issue with the game going ahead.

The fixture was originally scheduled to take place in October but did not go ahead as planned, after Napoli did not travel to Turin on the recommendation of their local health authority (ASL).

"We respect the protocol," Pirlo said. "We are in tune with what the ASL says. We will do what we have always done, we will present ourselves and play."

Paulo Dybala, left out against Torino on Saturday after breaching COVID-19 regulations, is back in contention, while Pirlo is keeping faith with Wojciech Szczesny and Dejan Kulusevski, who have each been guilty of recent on-field mistakes.

Juve had not committed a single error leading to a goal in Serie A this season until March but have since had three.

Szczesny's, against Torino, also saw Kulusevski - at fault against Lazio - give the ball away cheaply.

"Szczesny will play because after a negative performance there is always a desire for redemption," Pirlo said, adding: "I spoke to Kulusevski. I reassured him. Mistakes can happen - you have to raise your head."

Juventus knew exactly what they were getting when hiring Andrea Pirlo and would be wrong twice if they decided to make a change now, according to Fabio Cannavaro.

Despite winning Serie A for a ninth successive season, Juve reacted to the team's shock Champions League exit to Lyon last year by sacking head coach Maurizio Sarri.

Pirlo was promoted from within to the top job, the former Italy international - who had only just been appointed as the club's new under-23 boss - signing a two-year deal to take charge of the first team.

His debut campaign has been tough, both at home and abroad. Juve's dominance in the league looks set to come to an end, while their hopes of European glory were dashed again at the last-16 stage, this time unexpectedly losing over two legs to Porto.

Pirlo's position has come into question as a consequence, yet former team-mate Cannavaro insists the club must show faith in the decision they made to appoint him in the first place.

"When Juve chose Andrea they knew very well that he had no experience," Cannavaro said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport

"It is logical that he should have his time to mature, even in the relationship with the team. There are still 30 points at stake, so it is right to leave it.

"And he did good things, throwing young people and managing a complicated dressing room, one full of people who have won a lot. Of course, some things don't work, he was wrong: he is a human.

"It's a heritage that must be protected. After all, if Juve don't confirm his position, what did they choose him to do last summer?

"They would be wrong twice if they take that decision now. And the blame can't only be his if the players make mistakes on and off the pitch."

Pirlo's Juve have a 57.14 per cent win percentage in Serie A, having scored 56 goals and conceded 25. The team averages exactly two points a game, considerably lower than the 2019-20 season.

They face a fight just to qualify for the Champions League again: Saturday's 2-2 draw against Torino saw them slip to fourth in the table, with a crucial home game against Napoli - who sit fifth, albeit level with Juventus on 56 points – to come on Wednesday.

As for Sarri, his solitary campaign in charge averaged out at 2.18 points per game, the former Napoli and Chelsea boss winning 68.42 per cent of his league fixtures as he secured the title again.

However, both slip below the lofty standards set by Massimiliano Allegri in his final year in the job. In 2018-19, his squad won 73.68 per cent of their Serie A outings, conceding just 30 goals as they picked up points at a rate of 2.37 per game.

Andrea Pirlo has admitted he is fed up with Juventus failing to display enough imagination and ambition to overcome rivals' spoiling tactics.

A 2-2 derby draw with lowly Torino on Sunday followed a shock 1-0 loss to Benevento before the international break, with hopes of a 10th successive Scudetto now forlorn.

Pirlo's first season as head coach has been one of major underachievement given the quality within his squad, but Juventus have said they will support his plans to take the team forward.

It means Pirlo looks sure to get a second season, but he and the club's leadership will expect to see more from the team in 2021-22, with the coach telling his players their current level is not good enough.

"We've played lots of games so it's natural for a bit of fatigue to creep in but we can't let that happen," Pirlo said.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a 79th-minute leveller after Antonio Sanabria's double saw Torino overcome losing an early goal to Federico Chiesa. Rodrigo Bentancur fired against the post, but Juventus could not find a third goal.

"After we equalised we took control of the game again and hit the post, so we did respond well," Pirlo said. "But when we're up against sides that sit in and defend it's hard to play through the middle - we have to channel moves down the wings.

"We need to be a bit patient, keep the ball moving and attack down the flanks.

"Obviously I'm not happy when we don't win and we're dropping lots of points. We have to work hard on occupying the space better and finding more options between the lines."

Giorgio Chiellini said there were "too many mistakes" before looking ahead to Wednesday's clash with a Napoli side who could yet pip Juventus to a Champions League place.

Juventus sit fourth but are only ahead of fifth-placed Napoli on goal difference.

Chiellini, quoted on the club website, said: "We have to stick together, keep our heads down and carry on working hard every day.

"We have another important match on Wednesday and it's one we need to win. We must push on, keep giving our all and try to secure our minimum target, which is qualifying for the Champions League. We know it's going to be a battle until the end of the season."

Andrea Pirlo said sloppy Juventus only had themselves to blame for a 2-2 derby draw against relegation-threatened Torino on Saturday.

Juve's slim hopes of retaining the Serie A title suffered another blow as they had to settle for a point from a frantic clash with their city rivals at the Olimpico Grande Torino.

Federico Chiesa put the champions in front, but Antonio Sanabria nodded home a deserved equaliser in the first half.

A poor Dejan Kulusevski pass and a mistake from Juve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny allowed Sanabria to put Torino in front only 15 seconds into the second half.

Cristiano Ronaldo levelled 11 minutes from time before Rodrigo Bentancur struck the post as Juve slipped up again, having suffered a shock defeat to Benevento before the international break.

The fourth-placed Bianconeri are well adrift of leaders Inter, and head coach Pirlo said there were no excuses for their latest setback.

He told DAZN: "Unfortunately we complicated the games by ourselves. We also made a good start, we unlocked them but then we let it slip.

"We thought we could play another kind of second half and instead we went under and the game got difficult.

"We make mistakes that are happening a little too often, we lose concentration. We need to improve and understand that we cannot be devoid of focus, not even for a second.

"Whenever you make a mistake, you pay for it."

Juventus trio Arthur, Paulo Dybala and Weston McKennie have been left out by head coach Andrea Pirlo as punishment for their breach of coronavirus protocols.

Italian newspaper La Stampa reported that police were called to McKennie's home late on Wednesday to break up a social gathering, with such events forbidden under current social restrictions.

Arthur and Dybala were among those to attend, despite a nationwide curfew put in place amid the global health pandemic.

Ahead of Saturday's derby with Torino, Pirlo confirmed the three players would not be involved – and did not make it clear exactly when they will be considered again for first-team action.

"The three players involved in the episode are not called up for tomorrow's match and we will see when they will resume," the Juve boss told the media on Friday. "Having said that, let's talk about the derby.

"I took the decision not to call them, the club did the rest. This certainly wasn't the right time to have a dinner until late, both because it was two days away from a match and out of respect for those who respect the rules."

For Dybala, it is the latest setback in a difficult season. The forward has featured in just 11 Serie A games in 2020-21 and has been sidelined since the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie with Porto through injury.

The Argentina international issued an apology via Instagram on Friday having attended the gathering with his colleagues, adding: "I know that in such a difficult moment for the world with COVID it would've been better not to make a mistake, but I was wrong to stay out to dinner."

Pirlo is also without defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Merih Demiral after both tested positive for coronavirus during the international break.

It is hardly ideal for the reigning league champions as they desperately look to stay in the title race; Juve suffered a shock 1-0 home loss to Benevento last time out and trail leaders Inter by 10 points.

"Tomorrow is very important, we will speak to each other before the match in order to face it in the best possible way. The approach doesn't change, you play to win, always," Pirlo said.

"After defeats you have to get up and react as best you can. We are ready to do that, we will show great pride, we have champions and a great group who want to react."

Pirlo will have Alex Sandro available after he returned to training without any issues, while Danilo offers an option for Juve in either defence or midfield.

Torino have won only one of their past 29 Serie A derbies between the sides, though they too are in need of points as they sit precariously placed in 17th, just above the relegation zone.

Juve are unbeaten in their past 33 league fixtures against teams starting the matchday in the bottom four (W29 D4), their last defeat against such opposition coming back in May 2016 against Verona.

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