Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said on Wednesday that he and his team-mates must share the blame for the sacking of Ciro Ferrara.
Last week Ferrara was dismissed after just eight months in charge and replaced by Alberto Zaccheroni following nine defeats in Juve’s previous 12 games, during which time they crashed out of two cup competitions and slumped from second to sixth in the league.
“Unfortunately it’s easier to change one person rather than 25 players but if those players have even a small sense of responsibility then they know that there are no more excuses,” said Italy’s number one.
“It’s our responsibility that there has been a change of coach, it’s not just one person’s fault but all of ours. The sacking should sound an alarm for us players. I feel sorry for Ferrara, he paid the price for everyone.
“It’s an all-round failure that touches us players as well. But I know that Ferrara will bounce back.”
Buffon and his team-mates have also had to accept their remodelled objectives for the season.
Out of the Champions League and the title race, they are now focusing on Europe’s secondary competition and a top-three or -four finish.
“We’ll try to win the Europa League and in the league we’ll try to qualify for the Champions League,” he said.
“Better to do so directly (with a top-three finish) but we’d be happy also with fourth place (and a place in the Champions League preliminary rounds).
“As for the title, that discussion is closed, both because of Inter’s advantage (15 points with a game in hand) and because of their strength.”
Buffon described this period as the most difficult during his time at Juventus, despite having stood by the club in 2006 when they were relegated to Serie B for match-fixing.
And he insisted he will again remain loyal regardless of what happens.
“Will I leave if Juve don’t qualify for the Champions League next season? I haven’t even taken that into consideration,” he said.
“Would I like to play abroad? Yes, with Juve in the Champions League, next year. I can’t explain what’s happened but this is the toughest period in the last 10 years, including the period in Serie B.”