Antonio Conte admits Parma will be tough for Juventus to crack and insists Claudio Marchisio’s “antipathy” towards Napoli was a compliment.
The Bianconeri have had a dramatic week, as they were beaten at home by 10-man Sampdoria, forced to extra time by Milan in the Coppa Italia quarter-final and prompted a diplomatic incident when Marchisio declared he felt particular “antipathy” towards the Partenopei.
“Marchisio’s words were obviously referring to a sporting rivalry. Napoli ‘dislike’ us every bit as much. It is only normal to have rivalry between big clubs.
“Napoli ought to be proud to have our antipathy, because it means they have joined the group of big clubs with strong sporting rivalry like us, Milan and Inter.”
Conte turned towards tomorrow afternoon’s trip to the Stadio Tardini, where Parma are unbeaten this season.
“It’s a tough game, as they are in great form,” continued the Coach in his Press conference this morning.
“They’ve won their last four and have never lost at home. We know this is a difficult arena to play in and they will want to put in a top performance. I am convinced it’ll be a wonderful match, because Parma play open and attacking football.
“The 120 minutes against Milan on Wednesday were very intense and we gave everything because we wanted to progress in the Coppa Italia. However, we have trained for this and I’m sure the fatigue will not be felt against Parma tomorrow.”
Mirko Vucinic remains in doubt with an ankle problem and Conte confirmed “if he’s not 100 per cent fit then we won’t risk losing him for a long time.
“I have valid alternatives. Playing for Juventus has a different psychological weight to representing other clubs. Sebastian Giovinco was under constant pressure, now Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella are the ones being criticised in the media. You go from top player to garbage heap from one day to the next.”
Claudio Marchisio is out of action with a heavily bruised knee, so Conte confirmed he has to choose between Emanuele Giaccherini and Paul Pogba.
Finally, the newspapers have been full of transfer gossip around Didier Drogba, Lisandro Lopez and others, but the Juventus Coach hinted at Genoa’s Ciro Immobile.
“I have great admiration and affection for Immobile, as I watched him grow up at Juve and wanted him with me at Siena. He is a professional with great hunger to make his mark. We are monitoring him carefully.”