NEWS
Friday March 30 2012
Conte: Champions League is life

Juventus boss Antonio Conte has underlined how important Champions League football is to the Old Lady during a revealing interview with La Repubblica.

While the Bianconeri are just four points shy of leaders Milan in the Scudetto race, the tactician has highlighted that a return to the European Cup is the top priority.

“There are minimum objectives which I wouldn’t sign for and dreams which I chase, but in the knowledge that they are difficult to achieve,” he stated.

“I was asked to take the team back into the Champions League because it was fundamental from an economic point of view, as well as an attraction to tempt great players here.

“We need to finish the season in at least second place. The Champions League is life.”

Juve have been a revelation this term. After finishing the last two campaigns in seventh place, they are currently unbeaten and have also reached the Final of the Coppa Italia.

“We’ve gone a long way this season and it may have been appropriate to grow more gradually, but we are Juve and here winning is what counts,” he continued.

“The problem is that Milan are a few years ahead of us. We’ve narrowed the gap with the rest, but not with Milan.

“As well as buying new players you need to grow as a team. A lot of these players were not used to the mental stress which they have felt this season. We lack experience.”

Conte arrived in Turin as a 4-4-2/4-2-4 tactician, but he’s mainly used 4-3-3 and 3-5-2 shapes in the campaign.

“You improve on a professional level each year. For example, I would have never thought that I would change my system of play.

“One season at a big club is worth five or six at a small one. That’s why I today feel a lot more mature.”

Conte, a former club captain, had always dreamed about bossing his beloved Old Lady, but his ambitions as a Coach don’t end in Turin.

“Milan or Inter? I’m a professional and I have demonstrated that. Whoever knows of the hatred between Lecce and Bari will understand that. I am Leccese, but I totally threw myself in at Bari.

“A move abroad? I’ve been studying English for years, but I’m finding it hard to get to grips with. Sooner or later, I’d like an experience somewhere else.”

Conte was also asked for his opinion on the troubles at Inter after Andrea Stramaccioni became their third boss of the campaign following the dismissals of Gian Piero Gasperini and Claudio Ranieri.

“I think that Gasperini is a great Coach, one of the best, therefore the crisis at Inter is not just his fault.

“If a Coach is not supported by the club and he doesn’t have players who will give him a hand then the most phenomenal tactician in the world is destined to fail. I know as it has happened to me.”

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