'He has struggled to settle in' - Sarri says 'introverted' Rabiot hasn't found place at Juventus
Maurizio Sarri has acknowledged that Adrien Rabiot is yet to fully settle at Juventus but added that the midfielder will continue to feature in his plans alongside fellow midfielder Emre Can.
Both players have struggled for game time this season, with only five starts in Serie A, while Can was omitted entirely from the Serie A holders’ Champions League campaign.
Rabiot, in particular, has been relatively anonymous following a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain, where he was infamously persona non grata during the final months of his stay.
Speaking ahead of his side’s clash against Udinese on Sunday though, Sarri added that he intends for both players to be included this weekend while opening up on Rabiot’s adjustments to life in Turin.
"He has struggled to settle into our football, but that is normal," he explained. "He also came off an injury and struggled more in the first half in Germany [against Leverkusen], but he came out towards the end. He is also quite introverted, which doesn't help him to settle.
"Can was immensely disappointed [at being left out of the Champions League squad]. Either Can or Rabiot will certainly play and both of them may well be on the pitch for a portion of the game.”
Sarri has meanwhile additionally charged his players to transfer their outstanding European form back to domestic matters, as they look to defend their crown once again.
"The risks of dropping the intensity levels and dropping points after Champions League games is visible in the statistics," he added. "You can't argue when it happens two or three times.
"We've got to find out why it keeps happening and fix it. There are differences playing in Serie A to the Champions League, but it's not true to say the European opponents are more open. Bayer Leverkusen focus mainly on possession, while Lokomotiv Moscow tend to clam up.
"Perhaps subconsciously our minds can drift to other targets after so many Scudetto titles in a row, but that is something we must absolutely fight against. If we are to be competitive in the Champions League, we need to be competitive in Italy, too."
Udinese are led by caretaker coach Luca Gotti, who was part of Sarri's staff at Chelsea last season.
They have failed to win any of their past four Serie A games, but Sarri is expecting a tough match at the Allianz Stadium.
"Gotti is very talented," he said. "Udinese can transform any long ball into a scoring opportunity, so we've got to be wary of that.
"They are a dangerous team that knows how to close down well and make the game tight. They have strikers who work well and can be dangerous in different circumstances."