AFP MIGUEL MEDINA
Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said that his project with his club is still in its infancy and will continue his career despite the early exit from the Champions League round of 16 in front of 10 players from Porto, Tuesday.
The failure to reach the quarter-finals comes, in the same way last season, when he was knocked out due to the away goal rule against Olympique Lyon, and coach Maurizio Sarri was sacked at the end of the season, despite winning the Italian League title for the ninth consecutive season.
Despite the clear local control, Juventus won the European title twice, compared to seven times for local rivals Milan. The club desperately needs European glory, but Pirlo insists he is still early in his career there.
“I don’t know if Sarri was sacked for leaving the Champions League,” Pirlo told SkySport Italy.
He continued: “I am the Juventus coach at the moment, and I will work on a bigger project, and this applies to what happens after this season.”
He added, “This season is just the beginning of this project. We have young players whose level is evolving from one match to the next. The young players fulfilled their duties with desire and self-denial, and we cannot say anything to them, because they have done everything.”
The defeat leaves Juventus fighting only for the Italian League title, but faces a difficult task as they are ten points behind leaders Inter Milan.
“I am not happy to work for many weeks without European matches. I would have preferred to qualify and continue in the Champions League,” Pirlo said.
He added, “Until we forget this exit, we will need several days, but after that we must go ahead and try to advance in the ranking table. We are still in March.”
Juventus won 3-2, after extra time, last night, but were knocked out of the competition in the same role that saw their exit last season, after a 4-4 draw in aggregate. And this happened despite playing in front of ten players from Porto for long periods, as Mehdi Taremi was sent off in the 54th minute.