Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo has urged his players to not feel sorry for themselves after a humbling and potentially decisive 3-0 defeat to Milan, adamant they still have a chance of finishing in the top four.
Milan left Turin with a comprehensive victory on Sunday that propelled them back into the Champions League spaces at the expense of Juve.
It was Milan’s first away win at Juventus since March 2011, with the Bianconeri conceding for the 11th league game in succession, their worst such run in just over 11 years.
Milan, who are third, now have a three-point cushion to Juve in fifth, though Pirlo’s men are only one adrift of bitter rivals Napoli.
All three and Atalanta – ahead of Milan on goal difference – have three matches left this term, and Pirlo was keen to remind his players that their Champions League hopes are far from over.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Sassuolo, the under-pressure Pirlo said: “Juve will have to play a great game, I don’t want to see resignation in the boys.
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“We still have three games and we are one point from the Champions League [places]. In football I have seen all kinds of things, there must be no resignation but great positivity.
“We have even the chance to get into the Champions League, this must be the most important thing.
“There was great disappointment because we lost 3-0 to Milan. In football anything can happen, our goal doesn’t change. I go ahead with my work. We have a duty to believe in it until the end.
“Tomorrow we need a show of collective pride, regardless of who will play. We must honour this shirt, we cannot afford performances like Sunday.”
Juve’s on-pitch struggles are not being helped by off-field matters and controversy, with the club currently having to deal with reports of in-house tension between sporting director Fabio Paratici and vice-president Pavel Nedved, while Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina has threatened to kick them out of Serie A if they do not renounce the European Super League.
But Pirlo insists he is paying such matters no mind.
“I don’t even want to talk about gossip and invented things,” he said. “I don’t even want to go into it.
“These are external things, our goal is to show on the pitch that we deserve the Champions League, and we can only do it with the results.”
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