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Beleaguered Maurizio Sarri says Juventus are battling ‘mental fatigue’ after defeat by Udinese

Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri believes his side are battling ‘mental fatigue’ after suffering a shock defeat to Udinese.

The loss – which was brought about by Seko Fofana’s 92nd-minute winner –  means Juventus will have to wait for at least another game before they can confirm their ninth consecutive Serie A title.

The Bianconeri have surrendered 18 points from leading situations in Serie A this season, and they went in front at the Dacia Arena with a Matthijs de Ligt stunner.

But Ilija Nestorovski’s diving header restored parity before Fofana’s counter-attack in added time turned it all around.

The strikes were the 37th and 38th goals Juventus had conceded in the league this season, compared with just 30 in the whole of the previous campaign. 

And Sarri maintained that his side’s lack of organisation at crucial junctures has been costing his side in recent weeks. 

‘That’s what is happening lately, we’ve lost our organisation and shape,’ Sarri told Sky Sport Italia.

‘We had a good first half performance, conceded the equaliser and wanted to win at all costs, which is why we started to get too disorganised and loose.

‘It was our desire to win that made it a more dangerous approach and we lost it at the 93rd [minute] precisely because we wanted to win at all costs.

‘It’s difficult to find balance at the moment, as everyone in every team is getting tired. We’re also not as aggressive because of that, but I believe organisation is more important than aggression right now. 

‘It’s more mental fatigue than physical, as we lost our cool after the equaliser. Games are so strange after the lockdown, as the inertia changes so rapidly. We must learn the lessons of these fixtures and try to keep our shape.’

The 61-year-old former Chelsea and Napoli boss also lamented the absence of key starts such as stalwarts Giorgio Chiellini and Leonard Bonucci, while claiming striker Gonzalo Higuain would have been ‘useful’ in Udine. 

‘We also had 12 penalties awarded against us, which is unusual for the big clubs. There have been more spot-kicks in general, it’s an all-time record, even if our percentage went up a lot more than some others,’ Sarri continued.

‘Giorgio Chiellini has practically been out all season and people don’t realise how much his experience and character was missed. Leonardo Bonucci was also suspended today, Miralem Pjanic had a little adductor issue, but nothing serious.

‘Gonzalo Higuain is out, he too would’ve been useful against more defensive opponents.’

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