June 21, 2021

Pirlo not fearing sack after Porto send Juventus crashing out of Champions League

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The Portuguese side shocked the Italians in the Champions League, with an extra-time free kick proving the difference

Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo has said he is not fearing the sack despite watching his side crash out of the Champions League against 10-man Porto on Tuesday.

With the last-16 tie level at 3-3 on aggregate in extra time, Sergio Oliveira’s free kick from long range went under a crumbling Juve wall, as Wojciech Szczesny was only able to palm the low drive into the back of the net. 

The goal meant Adrien Rabiot’s late header was merely a consolation, as the Portuguese side stunned Juventus to reach the quarter-finals on away goals after a 4-4 aggregate result. 

What was said?

“I don’t know why [Maurizio] Sarri was removed,” Pirlo told Sky Italia after the game. “I am the coach of Juventus, I was brought in for a more ample approach, a project that was always meant to develop over several years, so I am not concerned [about being sacked].

“I am not happy to be working with a full week, as I’d have preferred to stay in the Champions League.

“Now that we’re in this situation, we can work on various aspects in training, which we haven’t had time to do so far this season, and try to improve on those.”

Speaking about Oliveira’s free kick, Pirlo added: “We choose the players to go in the wall. It had never happened before that they’d turn around, maybe they felt it was so far out that they didn’t sense the danger.

“It was a mistake, it usually doesn’t happen, the players didn’t feel it was a dangerous situation and conceded a goal.”

Why was Maurizio Sarri sacked?

Pirlo is in his first season as Juve head coach after his predecessor Sarri, was sacked after just a single year in charge. 

Despite winning Serie A, Sarri was removed as Juve manager after his side crashed out of the Champions League to Lyon in the last 16.

Pirlo may struggle to even replicate Sarri’s success, with Juventus currently in third place in Serie A, 10 points behind leaders Inter with a game in hand. 

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