(Reuters) - Talking-points from the Serie A weekend matches:
“A NEW WAY OF INTERPRETING FOOTBALL” - PIRLO’S INSTANT IMPACT
Having struggled to understand Maurizio Sarri's tactics last season, Juventus players said they had no such trouble in their first game under his successor Andrea Pirlo as they cantered to a 3-0 win over Sampdoria.
Juve, chasing a tenth successive title, played with more intensity than last season and were more incisive going forward.
“The big difference is in the desire to attack the matches and bring home the result,” said defender Leonardo Bonucci, who previously conceded that the players had difficulty grasping Sarri’s instructions.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm both in the possession phase and in the non-possession phase. There are also different movements. With Sarri, we moved in defence much more as a unit, today it is more man-to-man. This allows us to be more aggressive and we recover many more balls.
"Pirlo has changed the way of interpreting football. It's too early to say if it is right or not, but it's different with a very precise mentality of being aggressive and not wanting to concede goals."
The opening weekend had the feel of a phoney war with only six matches played and the transfer window still open until Oct. 5.
AC Milan kick off on Monday night while Serie A decided to give Inter Milan and Atalanta more time to recover from their European matches in August.
Meanwhile, Juve coach Pirlo said that his team could look very different once he has a recognised centre forward.
Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso is resigned to losing Kalidou Koulibaly, one of Serie A's top defenders, although he fielded the Senegalese in the 2-0 win at Parma.
“I would be sorry to lose him, because of the man and the player that he is,” said Gattuso. “But you know that numbers (finances) are important for clubs and at this moment, something needs to be done for numbers.”
Sassuolo coach Roberto De Zerbi, whose side drew 1-1 with Cagliari, was worried that he could lose key players as a result of their impressive performances in the second half of last season.
“I hope that everyone stays,” he said. “If someone leaves, the team must be adjusted according to the policy of our club which is to give young players a chance and allow them to develop.”
LITTLE DIFFERENCE WITH 1,000 FANS
Up to 1,000 fans were allowed at Sunday’s games for the first time since March but it made little difference according to Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso.
“It’s still a different sport,” he said. “At the moment, it’s not football. We are playing because we are professionals, but football is about the fans.”
Italian federation boss Gabriele Gravina agreed. “We need to see excitement and passion,” he said. “1,000 is really very little.”
Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge
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