Antonio Conte prepares Juventus for Cesena’s synthetic pitch, but insists Massimiliano Allegri’s phantom goal obsession “has become deathly dull.”
With only one point separating the teams at the top of the Serie A table, the Milan Coach again referenced the Sulley Muntari strike that crossed the line unseen by officials during their 1-1 draw.
“This issue has become deathly dull,” replied Conte in this morning’s press conference. “After our reaction at Parma we were told to shut up, which is what we did. The others talk every three days and continually repeat the same things.
“In all honesty, this bores me. But then that’s football, let’s move on. Would we deserve the Scudetto? A week ago you said if Juve win then it’s deserved, now seven days later you’ve already changed your minds.”
As things stand, Juventus are one point in front and visit bottom of the table Cesena on Sunday, one of only two Serie A stadiums with a synthetic pitch.
“We will do some tests today on that turf. The positive thing is that there are no holes, but the bounce and speed of the ball do change a little bit. From here to the end of the season they are all very important matches. We mustn’t underestimate anyone, as often points are dropped against virtually relegated teams.
“I expect my men to face Cesena as if this were the game of their lives, because that is what it represents to us. All the remaining matches are games of our lives.”
Leonardo Bonucci is in the squad for this game despite fracturing his nose in an accidental clash of heads with Lazio’s Libor Kozak on Wednesday.
“Bonucci has not been able to train with us because he didn’t have the protective mask. I have Paolo De Ceglie, who is certainly in great shape, although yesterday he got a slight knock to the knee. We’ll evaluate everything after the training session.”
This week director Beppe Marotta stated Juventus are prepared to extend Conte’s contract, but not necessarily that of Alessandro Del Piero.
“It is pleasing to hear the director say those words of respect, friendship and a strong rapport. I agree the moment we all sit round a table to discuss the contract, it will be a pleasurable meeting. Of course we have to talk, this is beyond doubt.
“Del Piero’s future? He gave a very intelligent response when saying his future is the Cesena game. We must try to focus only on imminent issues, which are the most important.”
Juventus squad: 1 Buffon, 3 Chiellini, 4 Caceres, 7 Pepe, 8 Marchisio, 10 Del Piero, 11 De Ceglie, 13 Manninger, 14 Vucinic, 15 Barzagli, 18 Quagliarella, 19 Bonucci, 20 Padoin, 21 Pirlo, 22 Vidal, 23 Borriello, 24 Giaccherini, 26 Lichtsteiner, 28 Estigarribia, 30 Storari, 32 Matri, 34 Marrone