Maurizio Sarri was not too concerned after Juventus suffered their first defeat of the season, 3-1 against Lazio. “The red card changed everything.”
The Bianconeri had been the only team remaining in Europe’s top five leagues who were unbeaten in all competition, but that run came to an end at the Stadio Olimpico.
“I thought we had a good first half, doing very, very well, but unfortunately allowed that goal right on the stroke of half-time,” Sarri told DAZN.
“The second half was dominated by incidents, most of which went against us, but when it was 11 against 11, we did very well.”
Cristiano Ronaldo and Luiz Felipe had it at 1-1 when Juan Cuadrado saw red for interrupting a clear Manuel Lazzari scoring opportunity.
This opened the floodgates, as Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Felipe Caicedo turned the game around completely.
It could even have been more, but Wojciech Szczesny saved the Ciro Immobile penalty.
“We didn’t respect our duties, because players were in the wrong position, it was a distraction and you pay for that. We had decided before the game on certain positions and we didn’t cover them,” continued Sarri.
The referee had initially only booked Cuadrado, but changed his decision to a red after an on-field VAR review.
“I do not entirely agree that it was a clear scoring opportunity, as the ball was going wide. I thought a yellow card was the right ruling, as the red was a little harsh, but the fact remains that is out of our control and we made a mistake to create the situation in the first place.”
Rodrigo Bentancur went off before half-time after a knock to the knee and the initial diagnosis is not reassuring.
“Bentancur will have the tests tomorrow, the collateral ligament seems to be involved to some degree, we’ll see how much. Bentancur is a decisive player for us at the moment, so we missed him a great deal once he came off.
“Sami Khedira will be out for three months, so we’ll have to work something out over the next few weeks and see if we can resolve other situations quickly.
“Federico Bernardeschi and Aaron Ramsey could probably be used in that role, so we’ll see about some tests there.”
This was the first competitive defeat of the season for Juventus, but Sarri is not concerned.
“I didn’t see many mistakes in the first half, we passed it around well and had the chance to make it 2-0 with Cristiano’s header. We were perhaps a little slow to react on the corner, which sparked their goal.
“In the second half, when the game seemed to be in a more balanced state, the red card changed everything. We lost the match, but to be honest, I saw improvements in my team.”