Antonio Conte hailed the Juventus heart to come back from 3-1 down in Naples. “I am proud to coach these lads.”
The Bianconeri were 2-0 under at half-time and losing 3-1 in the second half until Marcelo Estigarribia and Simone Pepe snatched a spectacular 3-3 draw.
“There were some very strong responses in terms of character. Aside from the head, legs and tactics, without heart you cannot fight back and put a game like this back on track,” whispered Conte, who had lost his voice by shouting from the touchline.
“It was a very difficult start and Napoli immediately played at a high tempo, but we seemed almost as if we were waiting for them to tire themselves out. There were a few distractions and we went 2-0 down, so that result, that performance and this atmosphere at the San Paolo would’ve broken any other team.
“This is why I am so proud that my team showed such humility, passion and belief to fight back. Quite aside from their technical gifts, I am very happy to see this inner strength from the squad. I am proud to coach these lads.”
Conte was without the suspended Claudio Marchisio and surprised everyone with a modified 3-5-2 system.
“We tried to mirror Napoli, as Christian Maggio makes the difference for them and I wanted him to go head-to-head with Estigarribia, who had an extraordinary game. Pepe is a very intelligent player tactically and had a little trouble finding his position in the middle, but then became devastating.
“We had prepared a match with Mirko Vucinic against Salvatore Aronica and Alessandro Matri on Paolo Cannavaro. We didn’t do well in the first half, as we often hesitated in giving them service. After the break the two strikers had much more of an impact.”