(Reuters) - Andrea Pirlo insisted that Juventus’ Serie A title hopes were not over after a shock 1-0 defeat to relegation battlers Benevento on Sunday, and urged his players to honour the shirt.
Arthur Melo’s careless pass across his penalty area put the winning goal on a plate for Adolfo Gaich, and Juve were unable to break down the visitors in Turin.
The defeat leaves Pirlo’s side, who have won the last nine consecutive Italian league titles, 10 points behind league leaders Inter Milan with 11 matches remaining.
“We must continue to believe in the title and do our job to stay up there, our objective hasn’t changed,” Pirlo told Sky Italia.
“Our mentality must change, we’re wearing an important shirt that must be honoured.”
"There wasn't too much pressure today, there was a duty to play better and unfortunately we had a bad match in every aspect,” he added.
“We aimed to win this match by playing much better, but instead we ran into a bad day in terms of our attitude and some technical situations.”
Arthur’s slack pass proved costly as Juve’s six-match unbeaten run in all competitions came to an end.
“He made a mistake that wasn’t like him, it was strange because he didn't see the opponent,” Pirlo said.
“It was easier to pass back to the goalkeeper, a horizontal pass across the box is dangerous. It was a careless error, and we've committed many of them.”
(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Toby Davis)