Monday January 21 2013
Conte to ‘invent’ Juventus attack

Juventus boss Antonio Conte faces a striker shortage ahead of Tuesday’s Coppa Italia semi-final against Lazio.

Sebastian Giovinco and Nicklas Bendtner are injured for the first leg clash, Fabio Quagliarella is banned and Mirko Vucinic may not be risked from the first minute after recent fitness issues.

“We’ll have to evaluate Vucinic,” Conte stated on Monday. “He played 90 intense minutes at the weekend after a period in which we had to preserve him because of his ankle.

“I’ll need to speak to Vucinic, but I have to evaluate everything. I don’t want him to get injured again, I want to be cautious.

“We’ll have to carefully consider whether to give him another 90 minutes, especially as we only have one striker left in Alessandro Matri.

“Matri will play tomorrow as Giovinco will almost certainly not be at my disposal. Matri came on in the second half against Udinese and did well. I'm impressed by his desire to improve.

“There are other players who can be used as a striker with Matri or as a trequartista. I'm not yet able to say who will play, I'll have to deploy someone out of their natural position.”

Conte will also be without midfield creator Andrea Pirlo again after the latter also missed the 4-0 win over Udinese.

“Pirlo won’t play, that’s for certain,” he added. “However, Claudio Marchisio should return.”

The tactician confirmed that January signing Federico Peluso would be in his starting XI at the Juventus Stadium.

“I thought Peluso played well against Sampdoria [on his debut]. He’ll play tomorrow, but I don’t know yet in what role – in defence or on the left of midfield.”

Lazio frustrated Juventus in Serie A earlier this season and the tactician has respect for the side who are joint-second in the championship – just five points adrift of the Old Lady.

“I expect a tough Lazio, one who will look to not give us a lot of space and hit us on the counter,” Conte added.

“They have excellent players, ones of class and experience. They’ll fight until the end in the championship and they’ll do well in Europe too.

“Lazio will be strong, compact and well-organised. They have consolidated the good foundations established by Edy Reja.”

Conte then cut-short any questions about the January transfer window. “We're playing in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia. I'm focused solely on the game for the time being, not the transfer market.”

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