The current season has been the most difficult in Italian football history, Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri said on Saturday as he tried to explain the Serie A leader's inconsistent form over the last month.
Although it has a five-point advantage with three games to play, Juve has only won once in its last five matches and has kept its lead because rivals Inter Milan, Atlanata and Lazio have also slumped.
Serie A is being completed in a hectic six weeks after a three-month novel coronavirus stoppage and teams are having to cope with high temperatures, late finishes and empty stadiums.
“What mark would I give Juventus so far? A good one because this is the most difficult championship in the history of Italian football,” Sarri told reporters ahead of Sunday's match at home to Sampdoria.
“In the light of the obvious difficulties, I think the team has performed well.... This is an atypical phase. It's never happened before that we've played the championship in July.”
Juventus will clinch the title if it wins on Sunday, having missed a first chance to wrap it up on Thursday when it lost 2-1 to a stoppage-time goal at Udinese.
However, Sarri was pleased with the team's attitude.
“We lost our shape and organisation in Udine but the positive thing is that it happened because we were trying so hard to win,” he said. “I prefer to lose because of that than for being too passive, which has also happened a few times.”
Sarri said there was little time to prepare for games.
“We are not doing any kind of preparation because, playing every 72 hours, it's not possible. We'll prepare for tomorrow's game in 30 or 40 minutes tomorrow morning,” he added.
“Clearing you head after a game and then recharging for the next one in a few days is not simple and does not always come automatically.”
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