Head coach Maurizio Sarri played down the importance of Juventus replacing Inter Milan at the top of Serie A after beating them 2-1 at San Siro on Sunday.
Gonzalo Higuain came off the bench to score the winner in an intense Derby d’Italia clash as former Juve boss Antonio Conte suffered a first league defeat in charge of Inter.
Sarri told juventus.com: “Overtaking (Inter) at this time has little meaning. What matters is the performance and character shown against a strong team, which had always won up to this moment.
“We entered the game with a good approach, and we deserved to win.”
Paulo Dybala’s opener was cancelled out by a Lautaro Martinez penalty before Higuain’s late decider.
Sarri acknowledged the defending champions need to work on dominating possession more following the narrow win.
He added: “From this point of view, we have already taken important steps.
“What we need to work on is dominating the match, having territorial supremacy, pressing better and more, taking away any attacking initiative from the opposition so that we can spend our whole time in the opposition half.
“We have room for improvement, we are not 100 per cent yet, but the team is strong so we can get the results.”
Conte – who kick-started Juve’s run of eight straight titles by delivering the first three – came out second best against his former side.
The fellow former Chelsea boss told inter.it: “It was a match against a very, very strong team and I’m sorry about the loss.
“We could have done better with our finishing and the final ball but the team did what it could. Looking at the statistics, it was a closer game than perhaps shows on paper.”
The home side lost Stefano Sensi to injury after 33 minutes and Conte believes his absence hindered Inter’s performance.
He added: “We paid for the Sensi injury, losing our way a bit.
“At the start of the second half, we didn’t do well but then we got back into the game and either side could have scored.
“There were chances at both ends but they scored, using everything in their arsenal and making their experience count.
“I don’t have anything to say to the guys because we still have a long way to go in terms of how we manage and understand moments in a match.
“Congratulations to them, we’ll roll up our sleeves and keep working hard to move forward on our journey.
“There are no shortcuts in this regard, they’re at a different level and we’re looking to improve so that we can close the gap.”
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