Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri reaped the benefits of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain playing together – then warned it may not happen often.
The front three, who also impressed against Bayer Leverkusen in midweek when Dybala came off the bench, were finally fielded as a starting combination for the first time in Serie A.
The selection paid off, Ronaldo scoring twice in a 3-1 victory over Udinese with one of his goals being set up by Higuain. Temporarily at least, the result moved Juve back to the top of the league standings.
However, Sarri suggested it was only due to Udinese’s conservative style of play that he decided to start the three forwards together, with the frontline just one possible option for the former Napoli and Chelsea coach.
“It’s the first time that we’ve managed to really attack the game after a Champions League fixture. We played at a high level for a good 60 minutes,” Sarri told Sky Sport Italia.
“At this moment, those three are in good shape and we were facing an Udinese side that doesn’t really keep possession, they like to try long balls.
“I therefore thought this was a situation where we could afford to have them. As soon as Udinese started passing it around more, we struggled, so it is a valuable option for us, but one we cannot use all the time.
3 – Juventus have scored three goals in a Serie A first half for the first time since February 2018. Tris. #JuveUdinese
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) December 15, 2019
“Our forwards also worked hard to help the defence and press the opposition for the first 60 minutes. In attack, they did what I asked, which was quick exchanges and passing.
“If we are in a game where the opposition will have 50-50 possession, then it becomes more complicated. They were very organised and focused today.
“Against Leverkusen, I saw they were getting tired and struggling to keep up the intensity, so I introduced the trident for that reason. Udinese play in a different way, they are not so focused on passing.”
Ronaldo, meanwhile, believes Juventus have found a good way of incorporating all three forwards into the line-up.
“The most important thing was to win, although we could’ve had more goals,” Ronaldo told Sky Sport Italia.
“I think this is a good way of playing and it’s important we must play with confidence. It’s not about individual performances, but how we work as a collective.”