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Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said beating champions Inter Milan had allowed his side to retain their hopes of securing a top-four finish in Serie A and qualifying for the Champions League. After winning nine consecutive league titles, the Turin club are in the unexpected position of being at risk of failing to qualify for European football’s top competition for the first time in a decade. A 3-2 win at home to rivals Inter on Saturday saw Juve climb into fourth place, although Napoli can knock them back into fifth ahead of the final round of the season by beating Fiorentina on Sunday. “Winning was important to still have hope. We had an obligation to carry out our objective and we managed to win, despite some difficulties,” Pirlo told Sky Italia.
“We would not be talking about a fight for fourth place if we had always had the same determination as in the last few games. But when you are playing for fourth place on the last day of the season it means that something is missing: we lost too many points, especially in games that were easier on paper.”
Cristiano Ronaldo put Juve ahead in the first half, tapping in a rebound after his penalty had been saved, but he was replaced for the final 20 minutes.
The Portuguese forward returned to the dressing room before the match had finished, but Pirlo said there were no hard feelings.
“It was maybe the first time that he has been happy to come off, as he would have had to chase shadows for the rest of the match seeing as we were down to 10 men. He was happy in the dressing room,” Pirlo said.