Maurizio Sarri accepted Juventus must work on defending set-pieces after surrendering a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 away to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.

Sarri's first European game in charge of the Serie A champions seemed set to end in three Group D points after Juan Cuadrado's stunner was followed by Blaise Matuidi's header.

Atletico, though, earned a measure of revenge for their Champions League exit at the hands of Juve last term by fighting back in the last 20 minutes on Wednesday at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Stefan Savic nodded home after a free-kick to reduce the deficit and Hector Herrera brilliantly steered in a headed equaliser from Kieran Trippier's corner in the 90th minute.

Cristiano Ronaldo, whose hat-trick knocked Atleti out last term, almost won it for Juve at the death when he fired just wide, but Sarri was in no doubt where his focus must be on the training ground.

"I think we played well but we have a bitter taste in our mouth now because we felt we had the game in our hands," Sarri said.

"We need more attention and focus on set-pieces. We will work on that.

"I opted to start with Cuadrado because I thought it could have been an open game with spaces for him to use his pace.

"I think we are working well and I could finally see the things we are trying in training."

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci agreed with Sarri's assessment.

"We played a great game but we must be more careful to defend against set-pieces," he said.

"It's a pity because it cost us two points. At this level, our attention must be high for 90 minutes."

Maurizio Sarri has warned Juventus must escape the "illogical phobia" of previous Champions League campaigns if they are to prosper in it this season.

Juve travel to face another side Sarri believes can win the Champions League this season, Atletico Madrid, in Wednesday's Group D opener.

The Italian giants have won eight Serie A titles in succession but have not triumphed in Europe's elite competition since 1996.

They strengthened again in the close season, adding the likes of Matthijs de Ligt, Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot to an all-star squad already including Cristiano Ronaldo as they attempt to end that wait for Champions League glory.

“We don’t feel this pressure," Sarri, who confirmed Miralem Pjanic is available, told a news conference.

"We are Juventus, every time we step on to the pitch, the objective is to win, but we also know full well there are 10-12 other teams who feel the same way and have the same resources as we do.

"At this moment, I don't see Italian football as the favourites going into the Champions League, as over the last 20 years we've lost ground. The fault for that goes to everyone, from presidents to journalists, everything that surrounds the sport.

"I think we need to face this competition with exceptional determination, but also a relaxed mind. We've got to get back to enjoying our football, without this illogical phobia.

"Atletico Madrid are one of the teams who can win the Champions League. It's difficult to fight against the Premier League sides, as they have so much money in the sport.

"Atletico lost an extraordinary player in Antoine Griezmann, but brought in one just as extraordinary in Joao Felix. Saul Niguez has made huge leaps forward and I consider him one of the best in Europe right now.

"Atleti have the players to beat anyone, but unfortunately at this level, you need mental strength, technique, tactics and a bit of luck."

Inter boss Antonio Conte advised Maurizio Sarri to take comfort in his club's riches after the Juventus boss expressed annoyance with having to play in the afternoon.

Sarri took to the touchline for the first time since a bout of pneumonia as Juve drew 0-0 at Fiorentina on Saturday.

The Serie A champions lost Douglas Costa and Miralem Pjanic to suspected muscle problems amid high temperatures in Florence.

Sarri partly attributed the frustrating result to the energy sapping conditions and suggested a later kick-off would have made a difference.

But his fellow former Chelsea boss believes the Bianconeri can have no excuses for not performing.

"I won't say anything because otherwise I would have to bring out the budgets, the turnover and the balance sheets," said Conte, who spent three seasons in charge of Juve.

"I will only say that someone now on the side of the strongest team should be calm and comfortable."

With the Bianconeri labouring to a stalemate, Conte's in-form Inter were able to open up a two-point lead at the top of the table.

Stefano Sensi's first-half goal secured a 1-0 win over 10-man Udinese to continue the Nerazzurri's perfect start to the season.

Conte, however, warned his players to block out premature thoughts of a title tilt.

"We're growing and I'm happy with how we're maturing," he said.

"But I also know that you [the media] talk about us now only to beat us when something goes wrong.

"We have to keep our feet on the ground. Let the others talk, we have to shut up and work."

Maurizio Sarri believes Juventus were fortunate to come out of their Serie A match against Fiorentina with a point but was happy with his side's character.

Juve dropped points for the first time this season on Saturday, drawing 0-0 at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

The visitors lost Douglas Costa and Miralem Pjanic to suspected hamstring and thigh injuries respectively before half-time and never really got going, with full debutant Franck Ribery the biggest threat for Fiorentina.

Although Sarri, who watched on from the sideline for the first time this season after overcoming a bout of pneumonia, pointed out injuries and a general lack of fitness had an impact on Juve's display, he accepts his side were not up to scratch.

"We didn't put in a good quality performance," Sarri told Sky Italia. "It was a very complicated situation, as Fiorentina played well and we used up all our substitutions with injuries and had no more fresh legs to introduce.

"With all those variables, we did well in terms of character to get a point out of it. We lost possession too many times, which may also be a consequence of physical issues.

"Playing in mid-afternoon in Florence when it's realistically still summer is tough for everyone.

"We had difficulty on a purely technical level and I am confident a team with less personality would've lost. That is the positive and certainly a valuable quality to have a team that can fight it out for a point even when not in great shape.

"We had five players at the Copa America and eight on the treatment table, so we have half the squad at a more advanced fitness level than the rest.

"It was a difficult situation to deal with and we needed some time to get them all to acceptable levels, but the good news is that we tend to finish games strong."

Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Douglas Costa started up front for Juve, and Sarri suggested the trio needed to do more to get themselves into the game, as well as assist defensively.

"When the team defends deeper, we need the forwards to come back and help more," added the former Chelsea boss.

"It was evident after 30 minutes that this was going to be extremely difficult."

Mario Mandzukic has not been included in Juventus' squad for Saturday's Serie A clash with Fiorentina as speculation continues over his future.

Mandzukic has not played for Juve this term having reportedly been deemed surplus to requirements by Maurizio Sarri, who also left the forward out of his Champions League squad.

Reports emerged this week linking the Croatian with a move to Qatari side Al-Gharafa, while offers from other leagues – including MLS – are also rumoured to be on the table.

The 33-year-old, who is said to be fully fit, looks to have taken a step closer to leaving Juve, with Sarri leaving him out of the squad to face Fiorentina.

Mandzukic – a World Cup finalist with Croatia in 2018 – joined Juve from Atletico Madrid in 2015 and has scored 31 times in Serie A.

His honours in Turin include four Serie A successes, three Coppa Italia titles and two Supercoppa Italiana trophies.

Maurizio Sarri has defended his decision to leave Emre Can and Mario Mandzukic out of Juventus' Champions League squad.

The pair were surprise omissions from the Italian champions' selection for the group stage of the competition, which begins next week with a trip to Atletico Madrid.

Can admitted to being "furious" and "shocked" at Sarri's selection call and said he was not given an explanation as to why he was overlooked.

Sarri has previously expressed concern about the size of his bloated squad and insisted at Friday's news conference that he made the "necessary" decision in leaving out Can and Mandzukic.

"It wasn't easy or pleasing to make the choices I had to for the Champions League list, but it was necessary," he said.

"I'm sorry because two important players were left out. However, these difficulties demonstrate the strength of our squad."

Asked if he expected the reaction from Can, Sarri said: "It's normal that when a player suffers from a strong and impactful choice that there's an emotional aspect involved. 

"We must give him the opportunity to let out how he is feeling. I'm of the right age to understand these kinds of reactions."

Can played the final five minutes of Germany's 2-0 win against Northern Ireland on Monday, having been an unused sub for the loss to Netherlands, and he may get the nod to start Juve's trip to Fiorentina on Saturday.

Juventus are back in action four days later when travelling to Atletico in the Champions League and Sarri is ready to make full use of his big squad.

"At this moment our attention must be on the league," he said. "Then we will think about the cup. 

"We are in a moment in which the team must take its own identity. We must fight the difficulty that is having many players who have played very little in the last period."

Among those pushing for inclusion is midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who has not featured in a competitive game since arriving from Arsenal during the close season because of a muscle injury.

"A few weeks ago he was far behind his team-mates from the physical point of view," Sarri said. 

"In the last 10 days I have seen progress in training. He is not yet at his best but if his evolution continues he can soon return to a high level."

Gonzalo Higuain says he is determined to prove his worth to Juventus after being handed another chance at the club.

Higuain, 31, struggled to make an impact during loan spells at AC Milan and Chelsea during the 2018-19 campaign.

Chelsea opted against triggering a purchase option in Higuain's loan and he therefore returned to Serie A and reunited with new Juve head coach Maurizio Sarri.

He was not expected to be given opportunities to start, with Juve boasting forward options including Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic.

However, Higuain has started both Serie A games this term, while he scored a brilliant goal as Juve beat his old club Napoli - where he thrived under Sarri - before the international break.

"I am here to prove my worth," Higuain said on Thursday ahead of this weekend's trip to Fiorentina.

"I wanted to stay from the first day I returned. I am happy to be at Juve, at a big club with a great team and a big fanbase, in a city that I know.

"I don't think about the past, I only have the present and the future in mind. It will be an important season, last year was difficult for me but I still went into double figures and won a Europa League title.

"Now I only think of our season: I have good memories against Fiorentina, I made my Juve debut against them.

"It's never easy at the Franchi, but we must be strong as we know we are and take home the victory. I'm back on the same team as Cris [Ronaldo] after a few years and he's even stronger, more complete and ambitious, I'm happy to play with him again."

Higuain has switched shirt number this term and he believes the move to 21 is helping him turn his fortunes around.

"This is a decision that I made," the attacker added.

"I decided to swap from number nine, although it was available, with the day in which my daughter was born, to take her with me in every game - a choice of the heart, which is bringing me luck."

Maurizio Sarri has returned to the training field with Juventus following a bout of pneumonia.

The 60-year-old was diagnosed in mid-August and forced to stay away from Juve's opening two games of the Serie A season – a 1-0 victory at Parma and a thrilling 4-3 triumph over his former club Napoli.

Ex-Chelsea boss Sarri led part of Juve's training session at Continassa on Wednesday.

Gonzalo Higuain and Douglas Costa will not resume work with those of their team-mates not on international duty until Friday, having been prescribed extra rest by Sarri following their exertions against Napoli.

Juve are back in action at Fiorentina on September 14 before opening their Champions League group stage campaign away to Atletico Madrid four days later.

Maurizio Sarri could return to the dugout ahead of schedule when Juventus host his former employers Napoli on Saturday.

The ex-Chelsea boss skipped last weekend's season-opening win at Parma after being diagnosed with pneumonia earlier this month.

Juve gave Sarri until after the international break to recuperate but his assistant, Giovanni Martusciello, claimed the 60-year-old is keen to get back to work before his squad disassembles.

"He is good. Sarri has always been present at the club even without directing training," Martusciello told reporters on Friday.

"We have the final training session in the afternoon and then we will see if he is able to make it tomorrow.

"I would like him to be on the bench because he is the Juventus coach and it is right that he participates in this occasion.

"If he does not make it we will certainly find a solution accordingly."

Sarri coached Napoli for three seasons, guiding the club to two second-place finishes behind the Bianconeri.

One of his stars at Stadio San Paolo, Gonzalo Higuain, has been given the chance to resurrect his Juve career this season and started the 1-0 defeat of Parma.

The striker's inclusion came at the expense of Paolo Dybala, the subject of persistent transfer speculation throughout the transfer window.

Martusciello admitted the Argentina international was frustrated by his omission but insisted his attitude is not in question.

"Dybala is an extraordinary player," he said.

"He is focused despite all the talk. He is very motivated and a level-headed person. Not playing from the beginning upset him but it is part of the rules to be respected: you play with 11 and we have a squad of 27.

"They are all of an equal level except for Ronaldo, so you have to make specific choices. We are happy to have selection problems."

Juventus assistant Giovanni Martusciello said Maurizio Sarri was "very happy" with Saturday's win over Parma after speaking to the absent head coach before, during and after the Serie A opener.

Sarri was not in the dugout as eight-time reigning Serie A champions Juventus kicked off their title defence with a 1-0 victory at Parma thanks to Giorgio Chiellini.

Martusciello took charge of the match as Sarri recovers from pneumonia – the former Chelsea boss also set to miss the clash against Napoli.

After the match, Martusciello told reporters: "We spoke to Sarri many times in the morning.

"Clearly for him it's quite difficult to stay away from the team and therefore he wanted to know whatever was happening, the conditions of the lads, how they were living the beginning of the league.

"And we also spoke to him before the game, during the break and at the end of the game. He was very happy for the result, but a bit angry as well because he is a perfectionist.

"When something doesn't go in the direction he wants, clearly he gets a bit angry. He was happy of what the lads did in the first half and above all he was super happy of how the team dealt with the moment of suffering in the game.

"I mean that when Parma played more aggressively, and we were struggling physically, the team resisted among the difficulties and that's not a trait of many teams."

Gonzalo Higuain started for Juve against Parma, with reported Paris Saint-Germain target Paulo Dybala named on the bench.

Higuain – whose Juve future looked bleak following unsuccessful loan spells at AC Milan and Chelsea in 2018-19 – played 83 minutes, while Dybala was an unused substitute.

"Let's say that we made a clear consideration: to avoid putting players - in this context, first game against a very well organised team like Parma - to put players where they were used to play, in their usual roles," Martusciello said. "The choice about Higuain and Dybala goes in that direction.

"This aspect, a player that is born as a central striker, and so we went in that direction. That doesn't mean that in the future Dybala won't be the central striker. Here we have to deal with many top players, we have to make choices and those choices are part of the coach's job and we have to put 11 on the pitch. But today's choice was only inspired by a 'solidity of habits'."

Gonzalo Higuain has been named in the Juventus team for their Serie A opener against Parma, with Paulo Dybala on the bench.

Higuain's future at Juve appeared bleak when he spent last season enduring unsuccessful loans with AC Milan and Chelsea.

But the appointment of Maurizio Sarri, under whom he thrived at Napoli - scoring 36 league goals in the 2015-16 season - appears to have given the striker a fresh chance with the Serie A champions.

Higuain, 31, will lead a three-pronged attack on Saturday with support from Cristiano Ronaldo and Douglas Costa, who starts on the right in place of Federico Bernardeschi.

New signings Matthijs de Ligt, Adrien Rabiot and Danilo are all on the bench along with the returning Gianluigi Buffon, with Wojciech Szczesny preferred in goal. Aaron Ramsey and Daniele Rugani did not make the squad.

Sarri will not be in the dugout at Stadio Ennio Tardini as he is recovering from pneumonia, with the coach also set to miss next week's visit of his old club Napoli.

Aaron Ramsey will miss the chance to make his competitive Juventus debut in their opening Serie A game against Parma.

The Wales midfielder, who left Arsenal as a free agent to join the Italian champions, is absent from Juve's 23-man squad.

Daniele Rugani, who has been linked with a move away from the club, is also missing but new signing Matthijs de Ligt could feature.

Fellow fresh faces Adrien Rabiot, Danilo and Merih Demiral are also included, along with former Parma goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon after his return from Paris Saint-Germain.

Juve's new head coach Maurizio Sarri will not make the trip to Stadio Ennio Tardini as he is recovering from pneumonia.

The club confirmed in a statement released on Thursday that former Chelsea boss Sarri would also be absent from the bench for the visit of his old club Napoli next weekend.

Paulo Dybala's presence is no hindrance to Juventus' ongoing search for new signings, according to the club's vice-president Pavel Nedved.

The Serie A champions head into Saturday's season opener against Parma with a host of new signings at their disposal, including Matthijs de Ligt, Aaron Ramsey and right-back Danilo.

Argentina forward Dybala seemed set to make way amid the influx with Manchester United, Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain all linked at various stages.

None of those proposed moves have transpired and the 25-year-old is still standing at Allianz Stadium, a situation that sits comfortably with Nedved.

"Dybala will never be a problem for us because he is a great player," the former Bianconeri midfielder said on Friday, sitting in at a pre-match news conference as head coach Maurizio Sarri continues his recovery from a bout of pneumonia.

"Maurizio is using him as a false nine and I believe he is playing the role very well. He had a great pre-season."

Nedved dodged questions about Inter outcast and rumoured Juve target Mauro Icardi but revealed there could yet be further new arrivals.

"[Sporting director] Fabio Paratici has had done extraordinary things, some beautiful and important deals," he said.

"The transfer window is still open and we will see if there are opportunities we can seize.

"We are not forced to do anything. If there are possibilities, we will do something. Otherwise we will remain as we are."

Juve will, however, have to do without the guidance of head coach Sarri for their first two Serie A fixtures as he recuperates.

The former Chelsea boss is to return to work after the international break, Nedved confirmed.

He said: "Pneumonia is not a simple thing. Sarri would like to be out the training pitch and in the office every day because he is a great professional, but he needs time. He is getting better.

"Obviously there are difficulties for us, but we have managed them before."

Adrien Rabiot said Cristiano Ronaldo is helping him improve at the Serie A champions as he hailed the Juventus superstar.

Rabiot is preparing for Saturday's league debut with Juventus against Parma after joining from Ligue 1 holders Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.

Having settled in Turin, French midfielder Rabiot praised Juve team-mate and five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo.

"I played a lot this summer, because I needed to adapt to the team," Rabiot told Sky Sport 24.

"I'm managing to create an excellent affinity with Cristiano Ronaldo, because he also plays on the left. Training with him allows me to improve myself a lot and his presence is very good for the group."

"Turin is different from Paris. It's smaller, but it's a beautiful city," he added. "I am finding myself at ease and I managed to adapt well, which is very important for what I can then give on the field.

"Personally, I can't wait to start this adventure. I feel fit, we have worked a lot this summer, but we are ready for this appointment. With Parma it will be difficult, because we are the team to beat, and everyone will always give their best against us, but we are confident."

New head coach Maurizio Sarri will not be on the Juventus bench for their opening two Serie A games as he recovers from pneumonia.

Sarri, who arrived from Chelsea in the off-season, will miss Saturday's trip to Parma as well as the home match against former side Napoli on August 31.

"The coach made an excellent impression on me," said Rabiot. "He has a precise game philosophy and knows exactly how we must play, both in the offensive and defensive phases.

"We have already absorbed his concepts and we are working well with his staff."

Maurizio Sarri's start to life as Juventus boss was hardly going swimmingly before he was left tackling a bout of pneumonia this week.

After a frankly disorientating year at Chelsea, which amounted to speculation over his future and criticism of his fabled playing style being stitched together by the momentary distraction of bi-weekly football matches, Sarri won the Europa League, finished third in the Premier League and landed the Juve job. It felt like the football equivalent of getting out of jail and building a house on Park Lane in the same Monopoly move.

Board room and dressing room at Stamford Bridge never felt in harmony, but it no longer mattered. The former Napoli boss would now helm the slick and formidable football empire he came closer than many to toppling.

Or so he might have thought. Cutting into a reporter's question after Juve lost 2-1 to Atletico Madrid in the International Champions Cup, Sarri launched something approaching a tirade on Paulo Dybala's mooted exit and the need to trim Juve's Champions League squad. He called their transfer policy "embarrassing".

Some moves this close season – namely the capture of quality free agents in the form of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot – are identifiable from the old Juventus playbook. But part-exchange deals that lessen the quality of the squad and generally appearing reactive rather than proactive should be a cause for concern.

Out with the new, in with the old

Moise Kean is one of the most exciting striking talents in Europe but was allowed to move to Everton. Centre-forward cover now comes from Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic – one back after two shocking loan spells and another 14 years older than Kean and apparently being hawked around Europe himself.

A chunk of cash accompanied Danilo from Manchester City for a reason, as the inconsistent but lavishly gifted (and, once again, younger) Joao Cancelo moved in the other direction. A swap deal featuring Dybala and Romelu Lukaku, now shipped from Manchester United to Inter, would have been far stranger.

Indeed, Dybala only remains a Juve player for now due to the tangled web of his image rights arrangements. Leonardo Spinazzola joining Roma to bring Luca Pellegrini the other way, only to loan the latter back to Cagliari, also suggested muddled thinking.

The steady improvement throughout Massimiliano Allegri's tenure brought two Champions League final defeats. In between losing to Barcelona and Real Madrid in 2015 and 2017, Paul Pogba, Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Alvaro Morata were among the players to leave, yet Juventus improved on account of shrewd coaching and a transfer policy that was a step ahead.

Then, last year, the Turin giants bet the farm on Cristiano Ronaldo. The Champions League did not follow and Allegri left.

Matthijs de Ligt is one of the most eye-catching signings of the window but Juve hardly needed centre-backs and now appear to be scrabbling to recoup the cash. Like Sarri, there are understandable doubts over whether sporting director Fabio Paratici is cut out for a leading role at the Allianz Stadium.

Paratici's influence increased after Beppe Marotta's departure last year. Marotta is now leading operations at Inter for the man who launched this Juventus dynasty.

Conte's Inter ready for lift-off

"I never set limits – I don't want to create excuses," Antonio Conte said at his first news conference as Inter boss, his new club having come fourth - 21 points shy of Juve - last time around

The former Italy coach is something of a specialist in these situations. The year before he began Juventus' title streak in 2011-12, they finished seventh. At Chelsea, he took them from 10th to Premier League glory in a season.

Some of Conte's subsequent discontent in west London related to a failure to sign Lukaku. Now he has his man – the "point of reference" centre-forward crucial to all his best sides.

Manchester United fans will undoubtedly guffaw at the prospect of Alexis Sanchez joining a fellow Old Trafford flop at San Siro, but harnessing two players with a point to prove to Jose Mourinho in a bid to topple Sarri – the man who took his previous job – feels deliciously up Conte's street.

Valentino Lazaro, Matteo Politano, Nicolo Barella and Stefano Sensi look like shrewd buys alongside the formidable Diego Godin and Inter can be expected to hit the ground running when they host Lecce on Monday.

Napoli have finished as runners-up in the past two seasons and Hirving Lozano would be an exciting acquisition in attack, while there is unlikely to be a centre-back pairing anywhere as formidable as Kalidou Koulibaly and Kostas Manolas.

Carlo Ancelotti's men should certainly not be discounted, but the winds of change ahead of an intriguing Serie A season appear to be blowing in Inter and Conte's direction.

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