Andrea Pirlo assures this was the real Juventus in the Coppa Italia semi-final, and not the one that lost to Inter just 16 days ago. ‘We know our strength.’
When Lautaro Martinez opened the scoring, there were concerns it’d be a repeat of the 2-0 Inter victory in Serie A just 16 days ago.
However, a penalty for the Ashley Young shirt tug on Juan Cuadrado and Cristiano Ronaldo pouncing on a defensive howler turned the game around.
“We weren’t ourselves against Inter in the league, that was a slip-up, but it was also a valuable lesson and we worked on the mistakes that were made in that game,” Pirlo told RAI Sport.
“This is just the first round, we haven’t achieved anything yet. What this does prove is that if we are fully concentrated, it becomes difficult for anyone against us. We know our strength.
“It’s not easy to maintain this intensity when playing practically every day. I saw a great reaction after going behind.”
The second leg will be in Turin on February 9, with a 2-1 away lead under their belts.
Pirlo surprised with some of his team choices this evening, resting both Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini in favour of Merih Demiral and Matthijs de Ligt.
“Whether Bonucci or Demiral plays, it ought to make no difference. I understand that Ronaldo wasn’t happy at being substituted, but it was only right to rest him for the upcoming Serie A game, even if just a few minutes. He could not have answered his critics in a better way than he did tonight.
“We have a squad full of champions and must make the most of that.”
Asked if the Italian Supercoppa win against Napoli was the turning point in their season, Pirlo agreed.
“That was a fundamental match, as it lit our fire again and lifting that trophy made us realise we are strong and can compete for every objective.
“We’ll be playing every three days, there are some big clashes in February. We’ll take it one game at a time and then see where we are at the end of the season.”