Suspended Juventus boss Antonio Conte has broken his silence by taking part in a webchat with the club’s supporters.
The tactician hasn’t spoken to the media in recent months while he serves a ban for failing to report an attempt to fix a Siena game while he was in charge of the Tuscans.
Conte can train the side during the week, but he is unable to sit on the touchline during Bianconeri matches. He’ll return on December 9.
“I say to those who judge me that they should try to live one day as a guilty man when you are in fact innocent,” he stated.
“Do I miss the bench? My wife has constructed one at home for me! I watch television on it…
“It is inevitable that I miss the contact with the players and the fans. I’ve had to triple my workload as a consequence.
“I could intervene during a game before so now everything is a lot more difficult. But I have excellent collaborators and responsible players. Excellent professionals who help me a lot. I’ve been able to get into their heads, but I miss the pitch a lot.”
Conte’s Juventus had gone on a 49 game unbeaten League run until Inter came to Turin and collected a 3-1 victory.
“Juventus have never lost their hunger,” he stated. “We were less intense than usual against Inter. The defeat made us understand that we have to always play with intensity.
“I have to compliment Inter though, they’ll fight for the title with us.”
Turning to his side’s chances of winning the Champions League, he admitted that his club are handicapped financially.
“We have to remember where we came from. If Roberto Mancini and Carlo Ancelotti say that Manchester City and Paris SG need years to win the Champions League, with their investments, then we’ll never win it… Fortunately, money is not all that counts.”
Their European progress has been hampered somewhat by a shock 1-1 draw against Nordsjelland.
“We have to take things a step at a time. And we don’t look back. The draw in Denmark was right, even if we had a host of important chances.
“It made me laugh to read that Nordsjelland were considered as a Serie C side. They are an excellent team who deserve to be in the Champions League.”
Conte also spoke highly of Paul Pogba, the midfielder who he dropped at the weekend for failing to be on time for training.
“I didn’t hesitate at all in giving him a starting shirt in Serie A at the age of 19. I made my Serie A debut at 16.
“It’s up to me and him to turn him into a champion. He’s a good lad off the pitch and has the potential to be the world’s best.”
On his policy to continually rotate his strikers, he said: “I have five attackers in the squad and it is hard to keep three on the bench.
“But what I am interested in is that they always provide answers when they play. They are all as good as each other, they just have different characteristics.”
He also defended the use of his 3-5-2. “I’m more concerned about the principles of play than numbers. The 4-3-3 is the most defensive system we use. The formation we now adopt is super offensive.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.