(Reuters) - Juventus captain Leonardo Bonucci has apologised to the club's fans for both his and his team's woeful display in their 3-0 defeat at home by Fiorentina in Serie A.
Bonucci's mistakes led directly to two of Fiorentina's goals on Tuesday and he also gifted them several other chances.
"The worst Juventus of this first half of the season. I apologise to the fans on my behalf, first and foremost. Nothing to add," he said on Instagram.
A feisty figure who celebrates goals with a gesture that suggests his critics wash their mouths out, Bonucci has taken over the captaincy in the absence of Giorgio Chiellini who has been plagued by injuries in the last 18 months.
Curiously, Juve's abject performance came three days after a 4-0 win away to Parma which suggested they were starting to take shape under Andrea Pirlo, who had never coached at senior level before being handed role at the end of last season.
Pirlo's team have looked good in patches this season, especially in their 3-0 win away to Barcelona in the Champions League, but their inconsistency has left them with an uphill battle to extend their run of nine successive Serie A titles.
They have won six, drawn six and lost one of the 13 league matches under his leadership, leaving them fourth and seven points behind leaders AC Milan.
Tuesday's match was also a miserable night for Juventus winger Federico Chiesa against his former club.
Fiorentina winger Cristiano Biraghi said he was familiar with Chiesa's weaknesses and exploited them.
"Chiesa has this incredible change of pace that can cause big problems. However, seeing as I know him very well, I also realise he doesn’t like to be attacked and he struggles to track back and defend," he said. "So I tried to attack him and it worked well."
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge)