Antonio Conte does not see any reason why he and his Juventus players should feel down for dropping points against Chievo at the weekend.
Drawing 1-1 with the Mussi Volanti on Saturday, the Bianconeri were left three points behind Milan in the battle for top spot, albeit with a game in hand and the superior head-to-head record over the Rossoneri.
Ahead of playing that game in hand with Bologna on Wednesday, Conte has dismissed the suggestion that his or his players’ mood has dipped after the weekend frustration.
“My question is this - why should I get depressed for an extraordinary League campaign that we are producing?” Conte asked on Tuesday to the assembled media.
“Contrary, we think only of doing our best, we think how we can give everything, myself first.
“Until now, this effort had led us to become competitive again, to be respected on the field again, to be feared again, to find opponents that give 150 per cent to try to beat us, to find teams that still try to beat us.
“This is all because of our maximum effort, so I see no reason for depression. We must be very proud, very strong and very satisfied with what we are doing.”
Ahead of the rearranged midweek League fixture with Bologna, Conte was asked what he had told his players in training after their draw against Chievo.
“To the guys I said what I have always said from the start of the championship - I told them to continue to do their best, which is what we are doing, as we did against Chievo, as we did against Cagliari, Genoa and Siena and all the games in which we drew.
“We have not given up, we are continuing to give our best.
“I always say to my players ‘thank you’ when they leave the field with a sweaty shirt. This is the most important thing.
“I’d be upset if we had won and I saw someone without a sweaty shirt. This, however, never happens, as I tell my players: ‘give your best, we will all give our best and then we’ll see where this leads us to at the end of the season.
“The important thing is that we should not have regrets about anything, on any situation. This is possible if you always give your best.”
For the match against Stefano Pioli’s Rossoblu, Conte is facing one of his first injury-inflicted selection headaches, with both Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli ruled out with calf strains of varying severity.
“It was inevitable that we would find ourselves in a moment of emergency, unfortunately it has hit our defence as we lose two elements of absolute value in Chiellini and Barzagli.
“We are trying to take it as an opportunity, though, not to get depressed, for the substitutes and for the whole team to overcome a time of crisis that might otherwise weigh us down.
“We must seize the chance to be able to grow, to become more compact.”
The Coach also faced questions on who he is likely to pick in attack and indeed whether his biggest dilemma is not filling Chiellini and Barzagli’s boots, but finding a combination at the other end to score goals.
“As for the attack, what remains in consideration is that someone scores. The choices I make - I repeat - are always by virtue of the moment, under the rule of the formation, by virtue of the opponent that we face, because of what I see in the field. Each time, I try to choose those who in my opinion are most suitable.”
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