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Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri has told midfielder Miralem Pjanic that he must show the attitude of a great player if he is to retain his place in the coach’s first-team plans.
The 30-year-old has played 32 times in all competitions for the Turin giants this season, scoring three goals and laying on a further four.
His form before the coronavirus break, though, was a source of significant concern for Juve, with the midfielder lasting only 50 minutes before being replaced in a 2-1 away defeat to Napoli, while he flopped against former club Lyon in the Champions League, again being replaced prematurely in a 1-0 last-16 reverse.
“Miralem is a fantastic player,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “He can't afford to underperform for four or five matches like he did. I spoke to him; he wasn't able to recover from some bad matches.
“He needs to understand that he is a great player who can mistakes. He needs to react.”
Meanwhile, the former Chelsea and Napoli boss explained that he has a headache having two players of the quality of Paulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo on his books simply because they are so similar to one another.
“Dybala is a phenomenal player, although tactically it’s difficult to make him and Ronaldo coexist,” he admitted. “They can make a difference but it’s not easy for them to play together. But with the technical and physical qualities that they have, they can make the difference at any time.
“The team must adapt in both the defensive and attacking phase, but it is a pleasant headache to have.”
With that in mind, Sarri is refusing to take anything for granted.
“With 12 or 13 games to play, anything is possible,” the coach said. “Losing points at this point is very easy.
“Nobody knows where we are. We’ll only discover on the pitch.”