'Slap in the face' - Pirlo admits Juventus needed wake up call after Hellas Verona stalemate

Andrea Pirlo JuventusGetty Images

Juventus head coach Andrea Pirlo was frustrated his Juventus side only started playing with intensity after they had fallen behind in their 1-1 draw with Hellas Verona on Sunday. 

Having had just one shot on target in an insipid first half, Serie A champions Juve fell behind on the hour-mark when Verona's Andrea Favilli slotted home from 15 yards. 

Juve - winless in two consecutive Serie A games against Verona for the first time since 1989 - stormed back through substitute Dejan Kulusevski's equaliser 13 minutes from time and created a number of excellent opportunities in the closing stages without converting.

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Pirlo's Juve ended the game having had 22 shots but the Italian boss was not impressed that the hosts needed a 'slap in the face' to start carving out chances - as the Old Lady crashed to their second consecutive 1-1 league draw after finishing with the same scoreline against Crotone last weekend.

"Our first half wasn't aggressive enough. We waited for them and yet we created the best chances," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"We reacted well after they took the lead, but we shouldn't need a slap in the face to wake up and play with intensity. When you play against Verona or Atalanta, it's difficult because they take you one-on-one all over the field and create many duels. 

"We worked to avoid their high press and that worked better in the second half. It's tough against them, but we could've done better."

With Cristiano Ronaldo still absent from the team after his Covid-19 diagnosis, Juventus face another injury worry with Leonardo Bonucci appearing to suffer a leg injury.

The 33-year-old limped from the field in the 75th minute to be replaced by Gianluca Frabotta, with Pirlo revealing Bonucci actually suffered a fitness issue againsy Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League last week.

"He had already something during Kiev's match", Pirlo told reporters post-game. "We'll evaluate."

The result moves Juve up to fifth - three points behind leaders AC Milan, who have played a game fewer - while Verona remain in eighth position.

Juve host La Liga giants Barcelona in a mouth-watering Champions League clash on Wednesday before travelling to Spezia in Serie A on Sunday.