Andrea Pirlo claimed Juventus will qualify for next season’s Champions League “no problem” as he lamented Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence in a damaging Serie A defeat to Atalanta.
Pirlo’s side suffered a 1-0 loss at the Gewiss Stadium on Sunday as they again struggled without the influential presence of Portugal forward Ronaldo.
Juventus have drawn three and lost one of the four games Ronaldo has missed in Serie A this season.
The Bianconeri’s lack of cutting edge up front was emphasised by the fact they managed to register 11 shots in the contest but only one of them was on target.
Atalanta’s victory, secured by Ruslan Malinovskiy’s late goal, was their first win over the Bianconeri in Serie A since 2001 and saw them leapfrog the Scudetto holders into third place.
2001 – Atalanta have won a Serie A game v Juventus for the first time since Feb 2001 (2-1 thanks to Lorenzi and Ventola’s goals). They have defeated the Bianconeri in the second half of the season for the very first time in the 3-points for a win era. Resounding.#AtalantaJuve
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) April 18, 2021
“If we play with this spirit and desire to bring home the result, I am convinced there will be no problem achieving our objective,” Pirlo told Sky Italia.
“We played the match we needed to, then they were lucky with the late goal, but we played with great determination and aggression. It’s disappointing, we could’ve brought home at least a point
“We have not faced all our games with the same attitude and determination.
“It’s a completely different team when we have those elements, but despite me pointing it out, we have dropped too many points by not having the right attitude in the smaller fixtures.
“We knew Atalanta would make it a duel all over the field, so that’s how we prepared it. We kept good possession, covered the spaces, Atalanta can force you to play differently to other situations, but we did well.”
Ronaldo has scored 25 goals and provided three assists in Serie A this season.
The 36-year-old missed the match with a thigh injury but is expected to be fit enough for Juve’s Serie A clash with Parma on Wednesday.
Pirlo acknowledged he would have been ideal for a tight match against Gian Piero Gasperini’s side.
He said: “It’s no coincidence Ronaldo scored 25 goals this season and he was excellent in the first game with Atalanta too.
“He suits these games well and is our main finisher. When missing the killer instinct in the box, it’s slightly different.
“Cristiano wasn’t available, but whoever went on the pitch did what he had to do. I’m satisfied with the performance.
“We didn’t take advantage of the chances that happened to us in the first half. But we knew it would be an intense match. I have nothing to blame my players for.”
Pirlo was asked if he felt under pressure given Juve’s difficult season and speculation about his job, but added: “I’ve been used to it since I was a player. I let them talk.”
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