Antonio Conte reassured Chilean journalists on Arturo Vidal, prepared Juventus for Sassuolo and called Rudi Garcia’s comments “provincial.”
The Bianconeri visit Sassuolo on Monday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT), click here for a match preview.
“Before starting the Press conference I’d like to remember Tito Vilanova, who proved himself to be not only a great Coach, but showed great strength, dignity and class when facing a horrible disease. I send his family great affection in this painful time and I salute him.
“This is an important game, a fundamental one, as a victory would put our hands on the Scudetto. We know it’s not easy, as Sassuolo are fighting for safety, so we’ll need to be very wary, but go there to achieve our primary objective, which I repeat is the Scudetto.”
There were several Chilean journalists in Turin and they asked about reports Vidal will require knee surgery ahead of the World Cup.
“Arturo has this inflammation in the meniscus area. He seemed to be healed when he played against Lyon, but it became inflamed again. He is training with the team and we’ll try to get him on the field, maybe tomorrow for a small period, but more likely on Thursday in the Europa League.
“He is an important player for Juventus, who pay his wages, and then he’ll be an important player for Chile. I understand there is alarm in Chile, but if anyone ought to be alarmed about an injury to our player it’s Juve.
“The Chilean medical staff are always in contact with Juve doctors, just as they always have been. Similarly, when Vidal wasn’t well during a national team get-together we sent our doctor to Chile. The common objective is to ensure the player is well. We treat him with kid gloves!”
Conte was asked about Roma Coach Garcia’s call for opposition teams to raise their game against Juventus in order to keep the title race alive.
“I was honestly surprised by Garcia’s comments, as I found them very provincial and going back, if added to the ‘help’ I can catalogue them in the folder marked ‘bar talk.’ I don’t think Serie A needed Garcia to bring new motivation to teams facing Juventus. Don’t forget that for many years any Italian side that faces Juve plays the game of a lifetime.
“I also find it a huge lack of respect for the Coaches, players and clubs, but also the fans, as I don’t think supporters would think their team comes to the Juventus Stadium and doesn’t try hard. I thought it completely unnecessary.”
The Sassuolo fixture arrives just days before the second leg of the Europa League semi-final against Benfica, where Juve must overturn a 2-1 defeat, so will he rest some stars?
“Any squad decisions must be made looking for victory. The game of a lifetime is always the next one. If I need to make changes in some sectors based on fitness levels, then I will, as this game is too important.
“Andrea Barzagli has this bursitis in the calf, he was unable to train yesterday and is doing better today. It has been a bit of a tormented campaign for him in fitness levels. Fortunately this season Martin Caceres has been giving a great response.
“Carlos Tevez wanted to play even when he was ‘broken!’ He is a very generous player and we took a few risks, as every game was important in the Scudetto race. He’s doing much better at the moment and when the going gets tough, he has to be there.”
Conte was asked whether this was the most intense week of his Juventus career.
“Perhaps more than intense it is exciting. The first year we weren’t in Europe, last season we went out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals and this term we’re going forward in the Europa League. It’s the first time we have been challenging on two fronts to the end of the campaign.
“It is tough and tiring, but very exciting and this scenario has to become habitual for Juventus. In just three years we managed to take Juventus to compete for more than one trophy to the end, which was another of our objectives when beginning this adventure.
“We need our fans in Reggio Emilia on Monday and at the Juventus Stadium on Thursday, as with them things will be easier for the players.”
Finally, Conte was asked how his English lessons were coming along amid reports of an approach from Manchester United.
“It’s a non-issue. I continue to confirm I am so concentrated with the team, club and fans on achieving our objectives that nothing else can creep into our minds.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!