Maurizio Sarri believes that Tottenham’s greater level of fitness was key after losing his Juventus managerial debut 3-2 on Sunday.
In front of a sold-out crowd in Singapore, Sarri chose to begin his Juventus career using a 4-3-3 formation. He started Federico Bernardeschi and Cristiano Ronaldo down the wings, while Mario Mandzukic took up the centre-forward role.
Meanwhile, the Bianconeri’s €75m recruit Matthijs de Ligt was made to settle for a spot on the bench. Although the returning Gianluigi Buffon got the nod over regular number one Wojciech Szczesny in goal.
But Sarri’s men fell a goal down in the 30th-minute through Eric Lamela in their International Champions Cup (ICC) opener. However, a quick-fire second-half double from Gonzalo Higuain and Ronaldo turned the tide of the match in their favour.
Spurs’ new record arrival Tanguy Ndombele, though, soon set-up Lucas Moura to equalise to send the ICC tie into a potential penalty shootout.
Yet, substitute Harry Kane then stepped up to fire in a sensational goal from the halfway line to secure Spurs victory over the Italian champions.
Speaking to reporters later on, Sarri conceded Spurs were better prepared fitness-wise than his Juventus team
“It was a difficult game against a renowned team,” said Sarri as quoted by Football-Italia.
“They were quicker and more explosive, but they’re closer to the start of their campaign and closer to the right preparation.
“We need to defend further forward and not so deep. We did better in the second half, with better pressure and 20 minutes of good quality.
“We were naive with the balls we lost, but I think physical condition also counts for something.”
Sarri will now take Juventus over to China for their next ICC match against Serie A rivals Inter Milan on Wednesday.
The encounter will take place at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Center, with kick-off set for 13:30 (CET).