Lippi blasts Juventus players after defeat

EAST RUTHERFORD (New Jersey): Juventus coach Marcello Lippi attacked the approach of his players after the Italian champions slumped to a 4-1 defeat by Manchester United in a pre-season friendly on Thursday. 

“When you play a team of United’s calibre you know you may lose,” Lippi told reporters. “But what I did not like was players playing on their own rather than for the team. 

“You can be a great champion but even great champions can’t play by themselves. I got mad because players lost the ball and did not go to get it back.” 

Lippi fielded an under-strength side for much of the encounter at the Giants Stadium, and only when he made 10 outfield substitutions after 62 minutes did Juventus show any kind of promise. 

Pavel Nedved, one of the substitutes, was particularly lively, and the Czech Republic international was rewarded with Juventus’ solitary strike 20 minutes from time. 

But to compound Lippi’s bad night, the midfielder hobbled away from the stadium later with his left knee strapped up. 

Juventus face AC Milan in the Italian Super Cup at the Giants Stadium tomorrow, a repeat of last season’s European Cup final which Milan won on penalties. 

With one eye on the Milan clash, Lippi chose to leave Nedved, Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet on the bench from the start against United. 

It backfired as they found themselves 3-0 down after an hour. But Lippi explained that United were always likely to be superior. 

“It’s difficult to go round the world and play these type of teams with only 10 days’ preparation,” he said. 

“It was a question of meeting a team who is more advanced in their preparation for the season. They passed the ball faster and that’s probably why we lost 4-1. 

“But I was more happy after the second half ... they played very easily and created three or four scoring chances. 

“I was not particularly impressed with United – I know they are one of the best in the world.” – Reuters 

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