Wednesday April 23 2014
Conte ‘didn’t call Benitez’

Antonio Conte confirms he did not call Napoli counterpart Rafa Benitez for advice on how to beat Juventus’ Europa League opponents Benfica.

The Spaniard was in charge of the Chelsea team that beat the newly crowned Portuguese champions in the final of the same competition last season.

Conte has full faith in his players and himself to do the job at hand but is wary of the threat posed by Jorge Jesus’ side ahead of tomorrow's semi-final first leg.

“Jorge Jesus is doing a great job with Benfica,” Conte said at the pre-match Press conference. “I have an immense respect for him and his team.

“Of course, the fact that they have already won their domestic League for the first time since 2010 is positive for them. They already have that guarantee of having won something important to them.

“We still have to reach that objective. Benfica can concentrate exclusively on this semi-final while we have to concentrate on the Europa League, then Serie A, then the Europa League again.

“However, these things can happen at this time of the season and we need to be excited about it. This period is tiring but it’s exciting.

“Is this semi-final an exam I have to pass to become one of the great European Coaches? I think that every year, every team and every Coach are under examination in terms of the objectives they are each trying to achieve.

“I have had the pleasure and the fortune to win the things we have at Juventus over the last two years.

“We are in our third year and we are looking to do the best we can.

“But I think a Coach’s capabilities are not just measured by results. You are measured by what the team does on the pitch, what your own players think of you and what the directors and club think of you.

“I didn’t call anyone to ask for information about Benfica because I have confidence in my players. I also have faith in myself, I have watched a lot of Benfica matches.

“In the League there are 38 matches but in Europe the margin for error is very small. Winning is always hard, but we will try to do it in both competitions despite the strong opposition.”

Conte was then asked about the fitness of Carlos Tevez and Arturo Vidal ahead of the match in Lisbon.

“Tevez is back in training. I will wait until tomorrow before deciding whether he will start or not.

“Vidal will not play. He will rest so that he can come back next week.”