NEWS
Saturday February 16 2013
Conte: 'Juve were fatigued'

Antonio Conte blamed fatigue for Juve’s 1-0 defeat to Roma and demanded “a little more respect” for the teams in Europe.

This was the second time Juventus had lost in Serie A after a Champions League match, as they were also defeated by Milan following the 3-0 win over Chelsea.

“I already said before the Fiorentina game that we certainly didn’t like playing three games in seven days,” said Conte.

The Bianconeri beat Celtic 3-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday evening.

“We were bound to pay for that with fatigue and one more day would’ve helped us to rest and reorganise. This is the only excuse I can give for today, as we did not play as a team and when we do that anyone can beat us.

“Compliments to Roma, it was a good victory. This is a new Roma, so we didn’t have much to go on in preparing for them. I wish I’d had more information, as we could’ve done better.

“We have regrets that there was not one more day to prepare and recover our fitness levels. I hope in future when the fixture lists are drawn up there can be a little more respect for a club that is taking Italy forward in Europe.”

Conte also lambasted his squad for not following the game plan the way they usually do.

“Unfortunately when we don’t play as a team, we don’t have these individual moments to get us out of trouble.

“We don’t play as a team when we don’t follow the sheet music and that makes everyone go off key. Everyone went their own way and it is really disappointing.

“We made two steps forward at Celtic, but one backwards today. I hope we can find that maturity that still eludes us.

“I spoke to the team and wanted them to tell me who was feeling tired, emotionally drained or anything else. Everyone said they were in good shape, so I picked the players I felt would do the best job tonight.

“If I had picked other players and we lost, then I’d get blamed anyway, so whatever a Coach does it’s going to risk being wrong. If I had changed the strikers after they scored so regularly, I would’ve been criticised for that.

“It’s a shame the result was negative and it is ultimately my responsibility. We will try to learn from this. Fatigue can happen, but we have got to play as a team or we go nowhere. I won’t talk about individuals. I didn’t like the team, I didn’t like anyone tonight.”

Kwadwo Asamoah made his first appearance since December 21, as he returned from the Africa Cup of Nations.

“Asamoah was on international duty for six weeks and someone even wanted me to play him against Celtic. He looked like a fish out of water today, as he hadn’t trained with us for a month and a half and it was enough to take him out of our systems.”

Conte reacted angrily when told that Walter Mazzarri had complained Napoli’s fixture list was just as crammed, having played in the Europa League on Thursday.

“We played three games in seven days, how many did Napoli play? It’s easy to calculate. In any case, all the clubs in Europe must be given the opportunity to rest and recover when we are involved in these extra competitions.”

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