Maurizio Sarri is delighted with Juventus' form but acknowledges the team must be better than in seasons past if they are to again retain their Serie A title.

The Bianconeri defeated Roma 3-1 in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals on Wednesday, scoring through Cristiano Ronaldo, Rodrigo Bentancur and Leonardo Bonucci before half-time.

It was a fifth win in a row in all competitions for Juve, in which time they have built a four-point lead over Inter at the top of the league table.

Sarri saw evidence of this winning mentality against Roma but acknowledged improvement was required in a three-way title tussle with the Nerazzurri and Lazio.

"Winning is becoming normal," Sarri explained at a post-match news conference. "I'm happy for the team.

"But we don't have to look at the numbers because it will be more difficult this year. We will certainly have to do better than previous years if we want to be competitive in the league."

Ronaldo took his 2020 tally to seven goals in four games, and Sarri lauded his "extraordinary" talisman while again repeating a desire to help the Portuguese secure individual honours.

"Ronaldo is in extraordinary physical and mental condition," the head coach said. "He is continuing at an impressive pace and has extraordinary skills.

"He is very well physically. In terms of explosiveness, he is good. He takes great care of the details.

"Ronaldo is a champion, we want to help him win the sixth Ballon d'Or, it would make us all happy."

Juve's next league task takes them to Sarri's former club Napoli, who are struggling in the bottom half of the table.

"It will be a difficult game. We must not look at their position in the table," Sarri added. "They have a strong team. They are going through a difficult time but have good players. 

"From one point of view, there are three points at stake. From my point of view, from a personal point of view, it will be particularly special because I am very close to Napoli."

Cristiano Ronaldo was on target as Juventus breezed into the Coppa Italia semi-finals with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Roma on Wednesday.

Portugal forward Ronaldo opened the scoring at Allianz Stadium with his seventh goal in four matches for Juve in 2020.

Rodrigo Bentancur and Leonardo Bonucci then found the net to give the Bianconeri a three-goal advantage at half-time.

Roma pulled one back when Cengiz Under's effort from the edge of the box hit the crossbar and rebounded into the net off veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, but Juve comfortably advanced and will face Milan or Torino – who meet on January 28 – in the last four.

Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri picked a strong starting line-up for the quarter-final clash and after a low-key start his side increased the tempo to seize control.

The 13-time Coppa Italia winners took the lead in the 26th minute with a goal that owed much to Ronaldo's ability to finish from a tight angle.

Ronaldo escaped his marker on the left before cutting inside and guiding a low shot across goal past Roma keeper Pau Lopez.

Juventus added a second on the counter attack 12 minutes later when Bentancur, surrounded by six Roma players, squeezed an effort into the bottom-left corner from 12 yards.

Roma's defence were culpable for Juve's third on the stroke of half-time as the unmarked Bonucci calmly headed in at the back post after being picked out by Douglas Costa's cross.

Gonzalo Higuain hit the woodwork in the 48th minute and Paulo Fonseca's side reduced the deficit two minutes later. Under's shot from just outside the box struck the underside of the bar and went in off Buffon's hand.

However, Juventus stood firm in the closing stages to pick up a fifth straight victory in all competitions.

 

What does it mean? Juve continue treble challenge 

Juve's streak of four consecutive Coppa Italia titles was ended in a 3-0 loss at the quarter-final stage last season by eventual runners-up Atalanta.

Against Roma there was a clear determination to secure a semi-final spot this time around and ensure their treble dreams remain on course.

With a two-legged last-16 Champions League tie against Lyon and the Serie A title to defend, the season is very much alive and kicking for Sarri's side.

Ronaldo remains relentless

A cup tie on a chilly Wednesday in Turin - you could forgive Ronaldo for taking it easy. Not a bit of it. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner turns 35 in February but remains as hungry as ever. His celebration after scoring was raw and passionate as he played the full 90 minutes.

One to forget for sloppy Smalling

It was not a game to remember for the on-loan Manchester United centre-back. Smalling failed to marshal a slipshod Roma defence and his positioning was poor in goals scored by Bentancur and Bonucci.

What's next?

Juventus return to Serie A action on Sunday in a clash with Napoli, while Roma face city rivals Lazio earlier in the day in the Derby della Capitale.

Manchester United have lined up another exciting midfield transfer target amid their ongoing pursuit of Bruno Fernandes.

As the wrangling over figures with Sporting CP continues, the Red Devils have reportedly submitted a sizeable offer to Birmingham City for teenage talent Jude Bellingham.

But making the first move might only spark a European bidding war.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SUBMIT BELLINGHAM BID

Birmingham youngster Bellingham's clear potential has convinced United to launch an offer worth more than £30million, reports the Sun and Sky Sports.

The 16-year-old midfielder has burst onto the scene this season and the Old Trafford outfit are understood to be keen to test him in the Premier League.

However, they could face stiff competition from Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and other heavyweight clubs across the continent.

The Mirror, meanwhile, claims United have made a "breakthrough" in negotiations for Portugal international Fernandes, having reached a "compromise" transfer fee in the region of £55m.

 

ROUND-UP

- David Beckham's Inter Miami have contacted Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero to assess his interest in a switch to MLS, adds the Sun.

- Tottenham have enquired about Real Madrid winger and former Spurs star Gareth Bale, according to Spanish television programme El Chiringuito.

- Barcelona, still searching for a new striker, have ruled out RB Leipzig's Timo Werner and Lille's Victor Osimhen, suggests Mundo Deportivo, with Valencia's Rodrigo Moreno a more likely target.

- Serie A side Roma are set to discuss personal terms with Matteo Politano after agreeing a €25million fee with Inter, according to Sky Sport Italia.

- Inter, meanwhile, are said to be in discussions with United youngster Tahith Chong, who is also on Chinese outfit Jiangsu Suning's radar as his contract runs close to expiring, says Sky Sport Italia.

- Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali is interesting Premier League champions City and Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain, reports SportMediaset.

Cristiano Ronaldo will be evaluated on Wednesday to see if he will be fit for Juventus' Coppa Italia quarter-final against Roma.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner sat out last week's 4-0 victory over Udinese in the last 16 due to illness.

He returned to the line-up on Sunday and scored Juve's goals in a 2-1 triumph against Parma.

Maurizio Sarri suggested the 34-year-old will not be rested if he is deemed physically capable of turning out against Roma at Allianz Stadium.

"We'll evaluate Ronaldo tomorrow morning. He can play three games in a week, I don't see a huge problem," Sarri said on Tuesday.

"In the last Coppa match he was unwell and now I want to understand if he has fully recovered and if he is ready to play three games.

"[Juan] Cuadrado trained in the gym as a precaution today. Alex Sandro has a problem with the transverse muscle but it's nothing serious. Both will be evaluated.

"Adrien [Rabiot] came out of the last match with a couple of serious knocks. He'll also be evaluated, he's a player with important physical quality even during the recovery between matches.

"Douglas Costa isn't at peak condition yet but he's doing well and is regaining continuity in training."

He added: "Roma are a strong team, therefore it's normal that against them you'll have periods of the match in which you'll suffer.

"It will be important for us to keep our shape and balance, also with different players in attack. However, I haven't decided anything yet, not even the formation."

Manchester United are no closer to concluding their long-running search for a director of football.

Rumours emerged over the weekend indicating the Red Devils were closing in on Lille's Luis Campos, famed for spotting the likes of Kylian Mbappe during his time at Monaco.

But fresh reports in France suggest United will be left frustrated in any bid to lure the Portuguese to Old Trafford.

 

UNITED TARGET NOT INTERESTED IN LEAVING LILLE

Claims that United have commenced negotiations with 55-year-old Campos are wide of the mark, reports Le 10 Sport.

There has apparently been no contact between the parties and, in any case, the former Real Madrid scout is said to have no plans to leave Lille.

United's 2-0 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday and the loss of Marcus Rashford has exacerbated the need for signings, an area in which Campos was expected to assist.

Campos previously had a long career as a head coach in his native Portugal, where he led Gil Vicente and Beira-Mar among others.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain are in preliminary talks with Neymar's representatives about a contract extension, according to French broadcaster TF1, although the Brazilian would prefer to delay concrete discussions.

- Krzysztof Piatek's proposed switch to Tottenham has stalled over Milan's £30million asking price, claims the Daily Mail.

- Spurs could turn their attention to Leicester City flop Islam Slimani, according to the Telegraph. The 31-year-old is out on loan at Monaco, where he has scored seven goals in 13 Ligue 1 games.

- Inter forward Matteo Politano favours a return to Serie A rivals Roma but may be given the option of leaving San Siro for Sevilla, says Corriere dello Sport.

- LaLiga side Espanyol hope to sign Reinier on loan once the Brazilian teenager's move to Real Madrid goes through, reports Spanish newspaper SPORT.

West Ham have reportedly set an ambitious transfer window target by eyeing an England international.

Whether Chelsea can be tempted to let Ross Barkley leave Stamford Bridge remains to be seen.

According to reports, the Blues are reluctant to let David Moyes be reunited with his former Everton protege.

 

TOP STORY – MOYES TO MOVE FOR ENGLAND STAR BARKLEY?

New  West Ham  manager David Moyes is said to be targeting Chelsea's England midfielder Ross Barkley for a transfer-window switch across London. 

The Mirror reports the Hammers want to take Barkley on loan, but that Chelsea have given them no encouragement as yet. 

Barkley, who began his career playing for Moyes at Everton, started Chelsea's last match, the Premier League win over Burnley.

ROUND-UP

Atletico Madrid still want to bring Edinson Cavani to LaLiga, but negotiations with Paris Saint-Germain look complicated given each club's valuation of the Uruguayan striker. Marca reports Atletico have offered €10million and that PSG are seeking €30million for a player who is in the final six months of his contract.

- Dinamo Zagreb's rising star Dani Olmo could be on his way to Milan, according to Croatian newspaper Sportske Novosti, which claims a €30m offer has been lodged. Spanish winger Olmo has impressed in the Champions League this year and won a first international cap. He was also linked with Barcelona earlier this month, but that interest has reportedly waned.

- Former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez  looks set to join MLS outfit LA Galaxy in the coming days. The LA Times reports talks between the Galaxy and Hernandez have taken place this week, with a view to bringing in the Mexican forward from LaLiga side Sevilla. The deal could see the Galaxy break their transfer record, which currently stands at a reported $7m for the signing of Giovani dos Santos four-and-a-half years ago.

- Gianluca Di Marzio claims Roma and Milan have opened talks over a swap deal involving Cengiz Under and Suso.

Sevilla look to have the ideal replacement for 'Chicarito' on the way, with 22-year-old Moroccan forward Youssef En-Nesyri reported to have agreed to join from Leganes. AS reports Sevilla will pay his €20m release clause, with a medical due to take place on Thursday before a possible debut against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

Inter are still waiting on possible deals for Tottenham's Christian Eriksen and Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud, with sporting director Piero Ausilio quoted by Corriere dello Sport as saying there was "no news" to report as he arrived back in Italy on Wednesday evening. "There are no updates," Ausilio said. "We trust the work we are doing with our coach and our players. If there is the possibility of improving the team even more, we will do it."

Christian Eriksen appears set to get his move away from Tottenham.

Out of contract at the end of the season, Eriksen has been keen to test himself elsewhere after moving to Spurs in 2013.

Inter look poised to bring the Denmark playmaker to Milan…

 

TOP STORY – INTER IN NEGOTIATIONS WITH SPURS OVER ERIKSEN

Inter have offered €10million (£8.5m) plus bonuses to Tottenham after agreeing personal terms with Spurs star Eriksen, claims Sky Sport Italia.

With Inter head coach Antonio Conte keen for midfield reinforcements and soon-to-be free agent Eriksen eyeing a new club, a transfer is reportedly on the horizon.

However, The Mirror reports that Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are ready to rival Inter for Eriksen.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Sky Sports Germany, Paul Pogba is likely to leave Manchester United at the end of the season. Recovering from ankle surgery, Pogba continues to be linked with LaLiga giants Real Madrid and former club Juventus.

Manchester City will reject any bids for centre-back John Stones as Premier League rivals Arsenal circle, says the Daily Mail.

- Corriere dello Sport reports Matteo Politano and Leonardo Spinazzola are set to swap clubs. Inter winger Politano will join Roma, while full-back Spinazzola will move to the Nerazzurri.

- According to Gianluca Di Marzio and Tuttomercatoweb, PSV are prepared to pay €6m for Milan full-back Ricardo Rodriguez.

- Globoesporte says LaLiga champions Barcelona are close to signing Palmeiras midfielder Matheus Fernandes.

Bruno Fernandes is seemingly set for Manchester United, but just whether a deal can be done appears uncertain.

Fernandes, 25, has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford from Sporting CP in January.

But there are contrasting reports over the status of a potential deal as United look to strengthen amid an injury crisis.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD SET TO COMPLETE FERNANDES SIGNING

Manchester United are set to sign Fernandes for £60million (€70m) by the end of the week, according to The Sun.

However, the Daily Mail reports United are offering £50m (€58.4m) plus £10m (€11.7m) in add-ons and Sporting want £64m (€74.7m) up front.

Meanwhile, Fernandes has told Sporting he wants to make the move this month, according to The Telegraph, while reports in Portugal suggest Marcos Rojo could return to Lisbon as part of the deal.

ROUND-UP

- Inter and Tottenham started talks over Christian Eriksen on Monday, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The Serie A giants are reportedly hoping to land the midfielder for €10m (£8.6m) as his contract expires at the end of the season.

- John Stones has emerged as a transfer target for Arsenal. The Sun reports Mikel Arteta is targeting the Manchester City defender, even if it is a loan move. Stones has played just 10 Premier League games this season.

- With Harry Kane set to be sidelined until at least April, Tottenham are eyeing a forward. The Independent claims Milan's Krzysztof Piatek and Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani are options for Spurs this month.

- Another surprise target for Tottenham has emerged. Gazzetta dello Sport says Fernando Llorente could be set for a return to the Premier League club, having left at the end of last season and signed with Napoli.

- Inter are close to completing a deal for Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud, according to the Daily Mail. The report says Giroud has already agreed personal terms with Inter, who are set to pay between €5.3m (£4.5m) and €7.6m (£6.5m) for the Frenchman.

- Moves are expected at San Siro this month and Gianluca Di Marzio understands Roma have entered the race for Inter's Matteo Politano following Nicolo Zaniolo's serious knee injury.

Given he delivered back-to-back LaLiga titles and left Barcelona still at the summit, Ernesto Valverde's departure appears perplexing on the surface.

There has been no great decline to speak of, no obvious player revolt and no boardroom bickering.

Why then have the Blaugrana opted to part ways with their head coach and replace him with Quique Setien, a man who could only lead Real Betis to a 10th-place finish last term?

We have taken a look at the five games which might have ultimately resulted in Valverde's exit.

Roma 3-0 Barcelona. Champions League quarter-final second leg. April 10, 2018.

After being beaten in both legs of the Supercopa de Espana by Real Madrid to begin his reign, things picked up for Valverde, who enjoyed a 36-match unbeaten run at the beginning of the 2017-18 LaLiga campaign.

However, two and a half weeks before that title triumph was sealed, Barcelona were stunned in Europe.

Valverde's side were in control of the tie having beaten the Serie A side 4-1 at home, but Roma became only the third side in Champions League history to overturn a first-leg deficit of three goals or more.

Greek defender Kostas Manolas scored the crucial third goal eight minutes from time as Roma went through on away goals and Valverde suffered his first, but not last, European humiliation.

Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona. Champions League semi-final second leg. May 7, 2019.

Fast forward a year and a case of deja vu, with Barca sitting pretty on a 3-0 first-leg lead in their last-four tie against Liverpool.

The Reds were without Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino for the return fixture at Anfield, where Divock Origi's early goal only gave them a sliver of hope.

Yet Barca looked shell-shocked as Georginio Wijnaldum's double was followed up by another Origi strike, Liverpool incredibly progressing to a final they would win.

Described in the Spanish press as a "debacle", "tragedy" and "historic failure", the writing seemed to be on the wall for Valverde from that point.

Barcelona 1-2 Valencia. Copa del Rey final. May 25, 2019. 

Not even a second LaLiga title could silence Valverde's doubters, who had more ammo when his team lost to Valencia in the Copa del Rey final.

Valverde had hoped a victory would ease the pain of the Liverpool loss but Barca were stunned again, Kevin Gameiro and Rodrigo putting Valencia 2-0 ahead before Lionel Messi pulled one back.

Rather than wield the axe, though, club president Josep Maria Bartomeu absolved Valverde of blame for the result.

 

Espanyol 2-2 Barcelona. LaLiga. January 4, 2020.

Away defeats to Athletic Bilbao, Granada and Levante would have looked costlier had the champions' nearest rivals Real Madrid not stumbled along themselves in the first half of this season.

Both teams' struggles were evident in a 0-0 Clasico draw at Camp Nou in December, but it was Barcelona's first result back after the mid-season break that would have set more alarm bells ringing.

Derby rivals Espanyol were bottom of the table and had not beaten Barca in LaLiga since 2009 but Frenkie de Jong was sent off as the strugglers claimed a 2-2 draw.

Barcelona 2-3 Atletico Madrid. Supercopa de Espana semi-final. January 9, 2020.

Five days later and it got even worse for Valverde and Barcelona.

Leading 2-1 in Saudi Arabia with nine minutes to go, the Blaugrana collapsed again late on, with Alvaro Morata and Angel Correa sending Atletico through to a final against their cross-city rivals Madrid.

It meant Barcelona had won just one of their previous five games, a sour note to end on for Valverde.

Maurizio Sarri urged his Juventus side to be more ruthless after they won 2-1 at Roma to go top of the Serie A table.

The Bianconeri were two up inside 10 minutes at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday, with Merih Demiral and Cristiano Ronaldo on target.

But Roma got a goal back through Diego Perotti's penalty in the second half, setting up a nervy finish as Juve failed to add a third, seeing a Gonzalo Higuain strike ruled out for offside.

Sarri felt they should have put the game to bed long before full-time.

"We did well for an hour, and a little suffering playing against Roma here in Rome is inevitable given their characteristics," he told Sky Sport after seeing his side move two points ahead of Inter.

"But what I did not like was the management of the result.

"We are happy for the three points at a very difficult place, making a good performance for large stretches, but we have to improve our game management when we are ahead.

"We kept the ball in our half when we had to look for the third goal."

Paulo Dybala appeared unhappy when he was substituted for Higuain with just over 20 minutes remaining, having had a hand in both Juventus goals.

But Sarri was delighted with the Argentina international's performance and is not concerned by an "angry" reaction to being brought off if he continues to play well.

"I couldn't care less. He's doing well," Sarri added. "If he gets angry and responds on the pitch, it's fine. These are things that are normal."

Nicolo Zaniolo is set to miss Italy's Euro 2020 campaign after Roma confirmed he suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament during Sunday's 2-1 defeat to Juventus.

Azzurri boss Roberto Mancini was looking on from the stands at the Stadio Olimpico when Zaniolo was withdrawn in the 36th minute in obvious pain after a challenge from Juve defender Matthijs de Ligt.

The attacking midfielder beat four Juve players during a brilliant run that started near his own penalty area, but De Ligt - himself on for the injured Merih Demiral - stepped out and brought him down with a body check that earned a booking.

After the Serie A match, Roma tweeted to confirm Zaniolo would require surgery.

"Following the injury suffered during tonight’s game, Nicolo Zaniolo underwent medical assessments that confirmed the rupture of the ACL in his right knee, along with some damage to the meniscus," the statement read.

"Zaniolo will undergo surgery on Monday."

The 20-year-old made his debut for Italy last March and opened his international account with a brace in the 9-1 rout of Armenia two months ago.

Zaniolo scored four times in 18 Serie A outings this season, along with two further strikes during the group stage of the Europa League.

 

Nicolo Zaniolo is set to miss Italy's Euro 2020 campaign after Roma confirmed he suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament during Sunday's 2-1 defeat to Juventus.

Two goals inside the opening 10 minutes helped Juventus leapfrog Inter at the top of Serie A with a 2-1 victory at Roma.

Defender Merih Demiral scored his first goal for the Bianconeri by turning home the influential Paulo Dybala's deep free-kick.

The Argentina international then won a penalty having dispossessed Jordan Veretout, with Cristiano Ronaldo converting to take his tally to nine goals in his past six Serie A games.

A second-half spot-kick from Diego Perotti proved to be a mere consolation for Roma, who also lost Italy international Nicolo Zaniolo to a serious-looking leg injury, as Juve capitalised on Inter's Saturday draw against Atalanta.

The Bianconeri had not scored on their previous two trips to face Roma at the Stadio Olimpico, but they were ahead after three minutes through an unlikely source.

Dybala swung a free-kick in from the left and Chris Smalling was unable to clear, with Demiral sticking out his right leg to see the ball go in via his shin.

It went from bad to worse for Roma, who only had themselves to blame for Juventus' second as Dybala robbed Veretout on the edge of the box and won a penalty from the same man that Ronaldo dispatched.

The hosts thought they should have had a spot-kick themselves when Lorenzo Pellegrini's goal-bound effort appeared to hit Adrien Rabiot on the arm, which was tucked into his body.

An injured Demiral was replaced shortly after by Matthijs de Ligt, who cynically impeded Zaniolo's progress after a brilliant run to also end the Roma midfielder's evening prematurely.

A VAR review helped Roma find a route back into the match with 22 minutes remaining, though.

Edin Dzeko was unfortunate not to score when his effort struck the post, and the former Manchester City striker kept the attack alive by crossing for substitute Cengiz Under, whose header was blocked on the line by Alex Sandro before hitting the left-back's left arm.

Referee Marco Guida initially saw nothing wrong with the intervention but pointed to the spot after checking a pitchside monitor, with Perotti making no mistake from 12 yards.

Roma were unable to conjure up a leveller, though, and only a narrow offside decision prevented substitute Gonzalo Higuain from adding a third for the visitors.
 

What does it mean? Juve back on top

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri had spoken positively of Paulo Fonseca and called Roma a "dangerous" opponent, but the visitors' start meant they were able to go back to the top of the table. 

A two-point cushion at the summit may not be that significant at this stage, but Sarri will be pleased that his team are once again above Inter after four straight Serie A wins.

Dybala dazzles

He might not be credited with either assist but Dybala's early brilliance put the reigning champions firmly in charge.

The Argentina striker provided an enticing ball for Demiral to open the scoring and it was his harrying that led to the penalty. It is hard to believe there were discussions about him leaving not so long ago - and that Sarri took him off 21 minutes from time.

Veretout very bad

Midfielder Veretout actually completed all 44 of his passes but it was his dawdling that allowed Dybala to seize possession, and the Roma man's subsequent foul that gave Juventus a penalty.

Veretout was fortunate another gaffe was not punished by Ronaldo later on, too, and it was no surprise he was withdrawn in the 66th minute.

What's next?

Sarri's team entertain Udinese in the Coppa Italia last 16 on Wednesday before Parma, who are Roma's cup opponents, visit in the league. The Giallorossi's next game in Serie A is at Genoa on Sunday.

Nicolo Zaniolo was taken off on a cart after suffering a serious-looking injury in front of Italy coach Roberto Mancini during Roma's Serie A clash with Juventus on Sunday.

The 20-year-old had his head in his hands as he was withdrawn 36 minutes in after injuring his left leg when Juve defender Matthijs de Ligt halted his progress with a foul on the edge of the penalty area.

Zaniolo had beaten four Juve players during a brilliant run which started near his own penalty area, but De Ligt - himself on for the injured Merih Demiral - stepped out and brought him down with a body check that earned the centre-back a caution.

The Roma midfielder writhed in pain on the edge of the box and needed a cart to be helped off the field, with Mancini, watching on from the stands, wearing a concerned expression.

Zaniolo has scored twice for Italy in his five appearances and had been expected to be a key figure for Mancini during Euro 2020.

Roma were 2-0 down to Juve at the time of Zaniolo's injury having conceded twice in the opening 10 minutes.

Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri has urged midfielders Aaron Ramsey, Sami Khedira and Adrien Rabiot to offer more in attack ahead of their Serie A trip to Roma.

The Bianconeri remain second in the table after their 4-0 win over Cagliari on Monday, when Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick.

Of Juve's 35 Serie A goals this season, 23 have been scored by strikers Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain, while Miralem Pjanic, with three, is the only midfielder to have scored more than once.

With Higuain still struggling with a hamstring injury, Sarri wants to see those behind Ronaldo and Dybala carry a greater attacking threat.

"Given the quality of the players I have at my disposal, the rotations don't change the philosophy of the game much," he said at a news conference.

"We can be better at exploiting the spaces created by Ronaldo and Dybala; Ramsey, Khedira and Rabiot all have the characteristics to do it.

"Dybala starts his runs a little deeper and Ronaldo off centre. Higuain therefore resolves an issue of getting bodies in the box."

Roma lost at home to Juventus' neighbours Torino on Sunday, ending a seven-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

They drew at league leaders Inter during that sequence, and beat Milan and Napoli at home earlier in the season, with Sarri acutely aware of the threat posed by Paulo Fonseca's side.

"I expect Fonseca's team to make a good impression; he's working well, he's a great coach," Sarri added. 

"He has a lot of technical players and he knows how to snatch the game when Roma regain the ball, but they also know how to recapture the ball after lost possession. They can be very dangerous."

Defender Matthijs de Ligt was once again an unused substitute against Cagliari, though Sarri insisted he is close to returning to full fitness.

"De Ligt is starting to improve," Sarri said.

"He still has a shoulder injury, but we hope he will return as soon as possible."

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