Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo has hit out at 'pig-headed' midfielder Arthur Melo over his lack of 'vision' and below-par display during I Bianconeri's 2-1 victory against Ferencvaros on Tuesday evening.
The Italian giants scraped past the Hungarian side thanks to an injury-time winner from striker Alvaro Morata, but it was another underwhelming Champions League display by the Serie A champions.
Pirlo was particularly scathing of Brazilian newcomer Arthur during his post-match press conference, lamenting the midfielder for being 'pig-headed' and hogging possession while searching for overly-complicated though balls.
“He got a bit pig-headed today keeping hold of the ball and trying to find more direct through balls when he should’ve spread it wide and tried to spread the Ferencvaros defence," said Pirlo.
"He should’ve opened up the game more to create one-on-one situations. If the ball moved too slowly, it allowed them to get back into position."
The Juve coach was then asked by former England manager and Sky Italia pundit Fabio Capello whether Arthur has the ability and vision to split defences. The 41-year-old's response was telling.
"Not much right now, but he's learning."
In fairness, with Pirlo at the helm, Arthur is certainly learning from the best.
It wasn't only the ex-Barcelona star who failed to impress his boss, however. Talisman Paulo Dybala has found himself out of the team through illness and injury for large parts of the new season, and he is now struggling to break into his coach's plans.
Pirlo handed the Argentinian forward a rare start against Ferencvaros, but he failed to capture the imagination. After the match, the rookie manager admitted that Dybala 'didn't do well' during the game, and must 'go beyond his limits in training' in order to work his way back into contention.
“Dybala didn’t do that well, but as I said, he was injured and had to take antibiotics for weeks, so it’s natural he needs time to get back into shape. He does need to go beyond his limits in training to rediscover his form.”
Juve fell behind early on to the Hungarian outfit, but a goal from Cristiano Ronaldo pulled them level before the break. The hosts were made to work very hard to claim all three points, and the breakthrough finally came in the 92nd minute, when Morata headed home from a pinpoint Juan Cuadrado cross.
The win confirms I Bianconeri's qualification for the knock-out stages of the Champions League, and they'll be battling it out with Barça to try and snatch top spot in Group G over the next two match days.