Juve defender Bonucci excused by coach after nightmare match

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(Reuters) - Juventus captain Leonardo Bonucci was excused by manager Andrea Pirlo after an error-strewn display in their 3-0 home Serie A defeat by Fiorentina on Tuesday.

"A bad night happens to everyone but he's put in great performances so far," said Pirlo after watching his side slump to their first league defeat since he took over as coach before the start of the season.

"It can happen to anyone but he's our captain and we have great confidence in him."

Pirlo, whose side demolished Parma 4-0 away only three days ago, said his team were their own worst enemies as they fell behind and then went down to 10 men in less than 20 minutes after Juan Cuadrado was sent off for a dangeorus tackle.

"We played badly because of our own failings," he said. "When that happens, you get into bad situations. In the game before Christmas you sometimes have the holidays on your minds and we went in with a relaxed attitude.

"Once you go a goal behind and down to 10 men, there's not much to talk about in terms of tactics and technique."

Cesare Prandelli, meanwhile, enjoyed his first win since returning for a second stint as Fiorentina coach one month ago.

"We thought we could take some risks, it was the right time to be more aggressive," he said. "To win and overcome fear you have to be bold -- if you are afraid, sooner or later you will suffer. And in the long run the work pays off."

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris)