July 26, 2020 / 11:47 PM / 9 days ago

Sarri says he had to tiptoe his way into Juventus

TURIN, Italy (Reuters) - Winning Serie A appears to have become a formality for Juventus in the last decade, however, coach Maurizio Sarri said it was anything but straightforward after they clinched their ninth successive title on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Udinese v Juventus - Dacia Arena, Udine, Italy - July 23, 2020 Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri during the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini/File Photo

Sarri, in his first year at the club, confessed it was hard work to get the team to adapt to his style of play, especially with so many outstanding individual talents in the squad.

“Winning is hard and every year it gets more complicated,” said Sarri after his team’s 2-0 win over Sampdoria on Sunday.

“Taking something for granted in sport is one of the biggest mistakes you can make and for this group it was certainly not a walk in the park.”

The chain-smoking Sarri was hired to bring some flamboyance to a team that had been seen as too pragmatic but said he was never going to be able to change things overnight.

“You have to tiptoe in and slowly change the things you like least. It’s not like you can just walk into a club that has been winning for eight years and change things, that would not be clever,” he said.

“However, as the months went by, I got to know the people I was coaching, not just the professionals.

“There are moments of discussion and confrontation in every dressing-room, I think that’s normal. You just have to face up to it - the more you do that, the more problems you solve.”

Sarri said the coronavirus stoppage, which interrupted the season for three months, had also affected his side as they have managed to win only two of their last six games.

“Before the lockdown we gave a feeling of great order and solidity that we then lost a little bit,” he said. “I saw many teams during this period that lost focus at times, so maybe it was a general issue we all had after such a long break.”

Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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