Maurizio Sarri Insists Miralem Pjanic Needs to Improve Ahead of Italian Football's Return

Miralem Pjanic
Miralem Pjanic | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Miralem Pjanic is facing a summer of decisions, as he finds himself on the shortlists of a number of huge clubs, including Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona. It's an exciting prospect for the Juventus man who has been one of the world's top playmakers over the last few years.

His coach, Maurizio Sarri however, is playing down the speculation. He has stated that Pjanic must improve his attitude to simply retain a place in his current team, never mind move to another.

Pjanic was show up by Houssem Aouar against Lyon before the break
Pjanic was show up by Houssem Aouar against Lyon before the break | Chris Ricco/Getty Images

The Bosnian midfielder has played 32 games in all competitions for Juventus this season, scoring three goals and registering four assists, but he suffered a dramatic dip in form at the turn of the year, losing his place in the starting line up to Rodrigo Bentancur.

Speaking to Sky Italia, the former Chelsea boss insisted that he expects the Bosnian's performances to improve. Pjanic was substituted after just 50 minutes as the Turin club lost 2-1 to Sarri's other former club Napoli, and he followed up with a woeful performance against his own former employer Lyon in the Champions League prior to the COVID-19 enforced break.

Sarri said: “Miralem is a fantastic player. 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.”

Sarri was also discussed one of the nicer problems he faces as boss of the Old Lady, stating that it was a headache having both Paulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo in his squad to choose between, as they are very similar players.

Most managers would kill to just have one of Dybala or Ronaldo
Most managers would kill to just have one of Dybala or Ronaldo | ISABELLA BONOTTO/Getty Images

He continued: “Dybala is a phenomenal player, although tactically it’s difficult to make him and Ronaldo coexist. 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.”

The pair have contributed 28 goals between them as Juve top the Serie A table. They are, however, only one point ahead of second place Lazio with 12 games remaining. Sarri also considers Inter to still be in the race, despite being nine points behind, because they have a game in hand.

Juventus get their league season back underway on 22 June against Bologna, and their manager is refusing to take their position for granted: “With 12 or 13 games to play, anything is possible. Losing points at this point is very easy. Nobody knows where we are. We’ll only discover on the pitch.”