Antonio Conte is confident Juventus “will play differently to the first leg” against Bayern Munich, but warned “they are a skyscraper whereas we are a building site.”
The Bianconeri welcome Bayern to Turin tomorrow evening in a bid to turn around the 2-0 first leg deficit in their Champions League quarter-final.
“We are facing a very strong side. We have hunger and the right level of calm to approach this game and the awareness we’ll play very differently to the first leg,” opened Conte in his Press conference.
“The first leg confirmed what we already knew, which was that Bayern are a very strong side who play a very physical game. We confirmed they are among the favourites for the trophy.
“In all these years they have worked to get where they are now, reaching the Champions League Final twice in the last three years, and are at the highest level in both team and club terms.
“We have just started our journey after many years of difficulty. Clearly there is a gap between us, as we are still building this project and only a third of the way through, so we want to follow Bayern’s example. For many reasons, we had to reconstruct what had been destroyed. Bayern are a skyscraper, whereas we are still a building site.
“However, I am convinced the distance between us is not as big as the one seen in the first leg. As far as we are concerned, we really want to play differently to the first match. My players want to show what they were unable to in Germany. We’ll see what happens.”
Juventus were demoted to Serie B in 2006 and had to sell many of their top stars, then finished seventh in Serie A for two years running before last term’s Scudetto triumph.
“It is wonderful to be back playing games like this and it has to fire up our enthusiasm, pushed on by our fans,” continued Conte.
“There must be great joy within us and within the supporters to be in the Champions League quarter-finals. Our fans will be breathing the kind of atmosphere they haven’t felt in a long time. If someone forgets that, then we’ve got problems.
“I heard people saying that was Juve’s worst performance for years. How many years?! We’ve only been working on this side for 18 months and people forget too quickly what we’ve done. People think everything is easy, but success is never easy. Only two years ago we weren’t even in Europe.
“We have to put in the kind of performance that Bayern did in the first leg, showing concentration and sporting aggression. We mustn’t step on to the field with the handbrake on the way we did in Munich. We have to go on to the pitch playing like Juventus.
“In terms of incidents, I also hope my team can be a little more fortunate – I am referring to the offside goal and Franck Ribery not getting sent off. I thank Jupp Heynckes for his kind words about us . I hope tomorrow, after the game, he can say ‘I told you so...’”
Conte playfully slapped Mirko Vucinic after a series of misses in the 2-0 win over Pescara on Saturday, where the striker eventually netted a brace.
“Vucinic just has to believe in himself more. He can reach 20 goals per season, as he has great qualities. We need everyone, because only the collective can get the best out of the individual.”
Nicolas Anelka missed the Pescara game due to ‘a family matter’ and is now out of the squad against Bayern, fuelling reports of an early exit.
“Anelka had a calf problem ahead of the Pescara match. He never gave me the impression that he has given up.”