Antonio Conte believes Juventus is beginning to feel as it did when he was a player. “I’m nostalgic for the old times and they seem to be returning.”
Juve drew 1-1 with Milan last weekend in a highly-charged and controversial affair. The fallout from that fixture, coupled with the Bianconeri’s advantage in the title race, has left Conte remembering previous times in Turin.
“To me, it has been a bit like going back to when I was a player and we were fighting for the League title and we were fighting every year for the Scudetto and things between the clubs were not so rosy,” Conte told the assembled media on Friday afternoon.
“I am nostalgic for the old times and they seem to be returning, but we must be clever and realise that football is the ultimate expression and that’s where you have to prove yourself as the strongest opponent.
“Why was there this situation in Milan last weekend? Because after so many years we are back to being a team that is once again competitive and then we had the honour and fortune to play in a game billed as determining the League title.
“The game at San Siro was fundamental, but there’s still a long way to go in the championship and we still need to develop.
“[Milan] have the advantage as they are more of a team. We are still learning because we started from scratch [last summer]. Every situation is a new discovery and we have to break each one down.”
Despite this, Conte is still keen to impress that the team have outperformed expectations.
“I reviewed the game, I’ve seen it in an objective light and am very happy - I expected a strong start from them. I think we were a bit frayed when there was the episode with the non-goal, where we lost focus.
“But, in considering the game, I have realised that we created the more dangerous opportunities. It is a game that should help us grow, help us become more aware of our means. We are not where we are by luck.
“It has been 24 games and we are still unbeaten and every now and then certain people forget about this.
“We’ve had some great results, great results, unimaginable at the beginning of the season and I never tire of repeating this.”
Across four of the midweek international games, the Old Lady saw 10 of its players used by their natioanl team, including six who were given a run-out for Italy in Genoa.
Bianconero Coach Conte admitted that there is a source of pride to the high number being called up, but also reflected that it has hit his preparations for the weekend visit of Chievo.
“I say this very sincerely…we’ve had today to prepare for the match with Chievo. Almost everyone who has returned is tired.
“Clearly, yesterday I had to give them a day of recovery. And then we have only one workout, one day to prepare for a game as important as the one against Chievo.
“That said, I am always delighted to see our players called up to the national team because it means that the work you are doing at your club is appreciated.”