MILAN (REUTERS, AFP) - Juventus captain Leonardo Bonucci was excused by coach Andrea Pirlo after an error-strewn display in their 3-0 home Serie A defeat by Fiorentina on Tuesday (Dec 22).
"A bad night happens to everyone but he's put in great performances so far," said Pirlo after watching his side slump to their first league defeat since he took over as coach before the start of the season.
"It can happen to anyone but he's our captain and we have great confidence in him."
Pirlo, whose side demolished Parma 4-0 away only three days ago, said his team were their own worst enemies as they fell behind and then went down to 10 men in less than 20 minutes after Juan Cuadrado was sent off for a dangerous tackle.
Fiorentina, after an early goal by Dusan Vlahovic, doubled the lead after 76 minutes with the ball bouncing off Juventus defender Alex Sandro and into the goal. Martine Caceres turned in a Cristiano Biraghi cross from close range five minutes later to complete the win.
Juventus' defeat also came hours after the champions learned they must play the match against Napoli which was cancelled on Oct 4 after Napoli decided not to travel to Turin because of coronavirus cases.
On Tuesday, Napoli won their appeal to the Italian Olympic Committee (Coni) after being handed a 3-0 defeat and a one-point deduction.
As a result Juventus, who had started the day with 27 points, finished it with 24.
Juventus are fourth, tied on points with Napoli and Roma, and seven points behind leaders AC Milan, who play Lazio on Wednesday.
"We played badly because of our own failings," Pirlo said.
"When that happens, you get into bad situations. In the game before Christmas you sometimes have the holidays on your minds and we went in with a relaxed attitude.
"Once you go a goal behind and down to 10 men, there's not much to talk about in terms of tactics and technique."
Cesare Prandelli, meanwhile, enjoyed his first win since returning for a second stint as Fiorentina coach one month ago.
"We thought we could take some risks, it was the right time to be more aggressive," he said.
"To win and overcome fear you have to be bold - if you are afraid, sooner or later you will suffer. And in the long run the work pays off."
Earlier, Brazilian Junior Messias scored a brace to move promoted Crotone off the bottom of the table with a 2-1 win over Parma.