Soccer-Pirlo says his Juventus future does not depend on top-four finish

Soccer Football - Serie A - Hellas Verona v Juventus - Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona, Italy - February 27, 2021 Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo and Cristiano Ronaldo REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

(Reuters) - Andrea Pirlo believes Champions League qualification will not be the decisive factor in whether Juventus decide to keep him on as coach for next season.

To clinch a top-four finish, the Turin club must win their final game in Bologna on Sunday and hope AC Milan or Napoli drop points in their games against Atalanta and Hellas Verona.

Failure to reach European soccer’s top club competition would be an enormous disappointment for Juve, winners of nine consecutive league titles before this season, and the situation has resulted in speculation that Pirlo will be replaced.

"I do not think the club will decide based on what happens tomorrow. I think they have an idea of what has been done over the season, what went well and badly," Pirlo told a news conference on Saturday.

"They do not take decisions based on the last match or on one result. It is up to them to decide a we will see what happens.

"I like doing this job, it is normal that I would reconfirm my position because I like having this adrenaline and pressure.

"You need to feel the blood running through your veins and I want to continue working with this squad and this club."

Juventus travel to Bologna in confident mood after beating Atalanta on Wednesday in the Coppa Italia final.

It marked a third consecutive win for Pirlo’s side since a 3-0 defeat by AC Milan earlier in May threatened to derail their top-four hopes.

"We believe. We were dead and buried after the Milan game, but picked ourselves up again. We did that on our own, but the results of other teams also brought us back to life,” Pirlo said.

"We must think first of all about ourselves, looking to play a great game and win, and then see what the others do."

Pirlo also addressed media speculation that Cristiano Ronaldo could depart Juventus if they fail to reach the Champions League.

"I see him still in a black and white shirt and focused," he said.

"He showed that the other night by making sacrifices and chasing because he wanted to win the cup."

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie, editing by Ed Osmond)

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