The Italian manager conceded his side have failed to progress in recent weeks Following a Second underwhelming performance.

Maurizio Sarri stated Juventus'”growth has stalled” but the under-fire head coach is not worried following the Serie A champions snatched a draw against AC Milan in the Coppa Italia.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s controversial 90th-minute penalty saw Juve escape with a 1-1 draw away to 10-man AC Milan in the first leg of the semi-final showdown on Thursday.

Coming off a shock defeat at Hellas Verona, which enabled Inter to move top of the Serie A table last week, Juve were far from their best as Milan impressed.

Ante Rebic’s 61st-minute opener appeared to be enough for Milan to procure first-leg honours, until Davide Calabria was harshly penalised for a handball in the death, Ronaldo making no mistake from the spot.

Juve have just won one of the past four matches in all competitions but Sarri is not unconcerned as pressure mounts amid links to former coach Massimiliano Allegri.

It seems a normal phase to be going through, it is unthinkable for a team to be in a continual ascent,” Sarri told Rai Sport.

“This is a game so much depends on the physical and psychological conditions of so many gamers.

“Our growth has postponed a bit in the last 3 months, we concede avoidable goals. Having said this, we have conceded just three more than the best defence in Serie A, so it’s not that much of an issue.”

Sarri added: “We did better in terms of our departure and playing out of the back but were missing in the final third. It’s a process and we’re continuing.

“We have surrendered some avoidable goals, such as today the cross was rather slow and – in my view – easy to defend. We were coming off a terrible performance in Verona, but picked up a positive result, especially as it is the first leg.”

Juve, 13-time Coppa Italia winners, will welcome AC Milan to Turin for the return leg on March 4.

Veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was crucial in maintaining Juventus in the competition on Thursday and announced recent criticism of the club was warranted.

“I saw a Juve I liked in the fluidity of the maneuvers, and that is critical to take charge of the game,” Buffon said.

“We weren’t as effective as we deserved in the past 20 metres, but as it was, we pulled off a fantastic result. It does not force you to sleep soundly, but it’s positive.

“When you play for Juve, the criticisms are correct, because the bar is high and the objectives are important. After Napoli and Verona, it’s right that there were criticism, which can only do us good.”