Sarri: Juve take it too easy in finishing; Ronaldo is tired, so I rest him

Maurizio Sarri reassured fans after Gonzalo Higuain’s head injury, but felt Juventus “took it a bit easy” in the 1-1 draw with Lecce and assumed they’d win.

After the final whistle, Higuain felt dizzy and was stretchered off, as he played the last few minutes with a bandaged head after a collision with goalkeeper Gabriel.

“Gonzalo is having stitches, then they’ll decide whether to take him to the hospital. He is conscious, answering questions in a clear way,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“At the end, we got ourselves get swept up in a battle that was not our style. We created many scoring opportunities and didn’t take them, so there was a lack of determination and clinical edge. We also didn’t control our lead well at all, so I didn’t like any of that.

“Cristiano Ronaldo was tired both physically and mentally, so it wouldn’t have helped him to make this journey and sit there. When a player expresses his fatigue, it was only right to give him a rest.

“The fact remains, we created 10 scoring opportunities and didn’t finish them. I think we took it a bit easy in our finishing and after we took the lead, acting almost as if it was natural we’d win.

“I don’t know if we were superficial as such, but we weren’t as determined as we could’ve been. We shouldn’t think that just because we create lots of chances, we’ll automatically score and win.”

For the third game in a row, Matthijs De Ligt has been involved in a handball incident, as he gave away the penalty that allowed Lecce to equalise.

“Seeing the incident from the bench today, I think it wasn’t exactly on purpose. His arm was close to his body and it took a deflection, but with the new rules, it is difficult for defenders to avoid the ball.”

Miralem Pjanic limped off with a muscular problem, so who can fill in for the Bosnian?

“Bentancur has all the characteristics to play in that role. Obviously, he doesn’t have the same experience as Pjanic, but he can have his say.”

Juve have conceded in eight of their total 12 competitive matches this season, so how can they work on improving the defence?

“Most of the goals we conceded have been on set plays, including penalties. We’re not allowing much to come through in open play, but we do need to be wary of the dangers in our box.”

Inter have the opportunity to leapfrog Juve at the top of the table if they beat Parma this evening.

“There are so many games to go and points up for grabs, I think looking at the table now would be not just futile, but also damaging.”