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Sarri blames fixture congestion, injury list for J

Juventus were below par today at Cagliari, and has happened so often this season away from home, succumbed to a 2-0 defeat in their penultimate game of the season.

Manager Maurizio Sarri blamed the fixture congestion for his side’s lacklustre showing, who clinched their ninth straight Scudetto over the weekend after beating Sampdoria.

“The problem is that that we are the only team in Europe who will have to play five times in 12 days.

“We’ll see how we are tomorrow and whether we ought to field the Under-23 team in its entirety at the weekend, so that everyone can get a bit of rest.”

The club’s next priority is now the return leg game in the Champions League Round of 16 against Lyon on August 7, nine days from today with another meaningless game in the league still to play on Saturday against AS Roma.

“In terms of motivation and determination, this was an atypical match and cannot be considered the same way as the rest of the season. Our passing is good, but the pace at which the ball circulates is the issue. Passing it slowly, and I mean the ball rather than legs, just makes things easy for the opposition.

“We had nine players left at home with injuries today, so obviously I’ve got some doubts ahead of Lyon. We’ll have to see who recovers.”

Cristiano Ronaldo played the full 90 minutes to try catch Ciro Immobile in the Capocannoniere race, but is now four goals behind with just one match left.

“Speaking to him yesterday, he was very motivated, wanted to play, was really enthusiastic and felt good. We made the decision together, he knows his body better than anyone.

“Ronaldo is instinctive and doesn’t fit entirely into certain tactical roles, which is also his strength, but it means the other striker has to adapt to Cristiano’s movements. We did it well at times this evening too, but didn’t finish the moves.”

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