Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri has the backing of president Andrea Agnelli to turn a difficult recent spell of form around.
For the Turin giants, nothing less than the Serie A title will suffice, yet as the winter break approaches, they find themselves in the unfamiliar role of playing catch-up in their domestic league.
A draw against Sassuolo was followed by a 3-1 loss to Lazio, throwing Sarri’s men into something of a mini-crisis as Inter took over the leadership of the top flight on 38 points, two clear of the eight-time defending champions.
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As such, Sarri finds his future in doubt, having only arrived at the club from Chelsea – where he was jettisoned after one year – in the summer.
Agnelli, though, has offered the 60-year-old former Napoli boss his confidence.
“Sarri has taken on a tough and difficult challenge,” Gazzetta dello Sport quote the Juve chief as having said at the club’s Christmas function. “But we know together, we can win it all.”
Sarri, meanwhile, indicated that he is up for the fight.
“Clearly this is a big challenge for me,” he said. “It’s been difficult since I accepted the job because I arrived in a team and in a company that has won a lot.
“We want to continue to win in Italy and to be competitive in Europe. In Italy, winning the Scudetto is almost an obligation, while in Europe we do not feel this, but only as a great challenge to make all the Juventus fans happy. It will not be easy, but I am happy to be here and to have accepted this challenge.”
Juventus’ next outing is in the Champions League against Bayer Leverkusen in Germany on Wednesday.
For once, that is an encounter that Sarri can approach in a more relaxed manner, as Juve have already qualified for the knockout stages of the competition in first place, with four wins from their five matches thus far.
Bayer, though, will be going all out for the victory in a bid to overhaul Atletico Madrid and claim second spot, having lost their first three games of the competition.
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