Thursday September 5 2013
Conte: Europe, Serie A, tactics and Italy…

Juventus boss Antonio Conte has discussed the Champions League, the Scudetto race, his 3-5-2 system and the Italy job with the Italian media on Thursday.

Having attended a UEFA coaching forum in Nyon, the tactician was cornered by journalists at the Hotel Bellevue where he was asked about a variety of subjects.

Starting with the European Cup, he was hopeful that his side could fight for the title after reaching the last eight in 2012-13.

“I’m optimistic even if I know it will be tough,” the 44-year-old commented.

“We have an extra year of experience and that is not to be belittled, as last season we had a lot of players who had never played in the competition and they didn’t know what to expect.

“After Inter won in 2010, I said that it would take some time for another Italian team to lift the Champions League. Now I’m more hopeful because I am seeing change.

“The economical difficulties should not scare us. We need to compensate for that with tactical organisation, technique, mentality and the desire to surprise.

“When you don’t have money you have to use ingenuity and we are good at doing that in Italy.”

Juventus have reigned supreme in Italy over the last 24 months, but Conte has played down suggestions that his side will easily claim a hat-trick of Scudetti.

“The Scudetto will be harder this year because the quality has risen, so whoever wins the title will deserve even more credit.

“There are at least five or six teams battling for the championship. Juventus, Napoli, Milan, Inter, Roma, Lazio and Fiorentina.

“Our next opponents Inter? They are a side who mirror their Coach. They are to be feared because they are strong defensively and can hit you on the break.”

Conte arrived in Turin two years ago with a 4-2-4 system, but the Bianconeri are now recognised as a 3-5-2 outfit.

“The three man defence is ideal for the characteristics of my squad. A lot of people in Europe are curious about it and here at the forum I’ve been asked a lot of questions on it.

“I’ve also got the chance to see [Real boss Carlo] Ancelotti again at the forum, a man who coached me at Juventus for two years. I spoke to him about the upcoming Real games, but we also remembered the past.

“I hugged him because I have great respect for him. I never thought that I would become a coaching colleague of his – that is satisfying.”

Conte was also questioned on the possibility that he could be a contender to replace Cesare Prandelli as Italy boss after World Cup 2014.

“It is too soon to talk about Prandelli’s successor. He is a great Coach, the most suitable to continue his work with the national side where he has constructed an excellent squad who play excellent football.

“Anyway, he hasn’t said officially that he is leaving. As far as I’m concerned, I have a contract at Juventus and I’m very happy in Turin.”