Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will improve the more he plays after the coronavirus-enforced break, according to head coach Maurizio Sarri.
Ronaldo converted a penalty as Serie A leaders Juve routed 10-man Lecce 4-0 in Turin on Friday – the defending champions opening a seven-point advantage over scudetto challengers Lazio.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner took his tally to 23 goals in Serie A this season, though Ronaldo has been in the headlines for his lack of form since the 2019-20 campaign restarted earlier this month following the COVID-19 crisis.
Asked about Ronaldo post-match, Sarri told reporters: "Cristiano now can play with a good fit. He needs to improve after the break and he is doing match after match.
"He needs to play a lot. In the future we will find the way to preserve him across matches or for some matches.
"He is great in listening to himself and he will realise when he will need to stop and rest. But now I think he fits quite well."
Juve overran Lecce following a goalless opening 45 minutes which saw Fabio Lucioni sent off, with Paulo Dybala, Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Matthijs de Ligt on target in the second half.
Ronaldo teed up Dybala to score a brilliant 53rd-minute opener before doubling the lead from the penalty spot nine minutes later.
Juve forward Ronaldo was again influential for substitute Higuain's strike in the 83rd minute, with De Ligt rounding off the rout five minutes from the end.
Amid doubts and criticism over Higuain, Sarri said: "For us he is very important. He is powerful, one of the strongest centre forward in the world right now. He can be decisive for us at the end of the season."
Juve – top of the table through 28 matches – travel to relegation-threatened Genoa on Tuesday.