Tuesday April 24 2012
Conte: Scudetto dream is possible

Juventus boss Antonio Conte has warned his players to remain focused if they are to complete their dream of winning the Scudetto.

The Old Lady are now three points clear of Milan with five games left and they are widely being tipped to end the season as champions.

“The newspapers are today celebrating Juventus,” the tactician stated ahead of Wednesday’s tie at Cesena.

“If my players let themselves be influenced by these things then that would be a mistake, it would be like throwing away a season.

“After qualifying for the Champions League, we now have this opportunity for the Scudetto. We can’t give up now.”

Juventus started the campaign as outsiders for the title, but they have ignited their hopes with six straight League wins after a flurry of draws.

“The side has grown continually and constantly,” the tactician added. “It’s all down to the players, to the desire which they have transferred to the pitch.

“We haven’t even lost to the big teams and we didn’t disappoint in our displays. The moment has arrived when I have recognised that we can raise our bar of ambition.

“We’re curious to see how the season ends. We were seven points behind, then five, then one and then we had a one-point advantage…

“We have nothing to lose and we’ll reach the end of the campaign with no regrets. We can realise a dream or celebrate qualifying for the Champions League. We’ll do everything to wrap up our dream.

“The road is still long, but we should not be afraid to win.”

One of the Old Lady’s strengths this term has been their defensive solidity. They have only conceded 18 goals in Serie A, nine less than Milan who have the second best rearguard.

“Our idea was to play possession football, to always be in charge of the ball. When you play your own brand of football then that changes the way you defend.

“As a result, that has suited the qualities of Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and others.”

Conte will have to make changes to his starting XI tomorrow as striker Fabio Quagliarella is suspended after his booking against Roma.

“Quagliarella will be banned and that is disappointing as he is in good form. I’ll evaluate things and then decide who to play.”

Conte has certainly been Serie A’s coaching revelation this term following his summer switch from little Siena.

“The Coach must outline a road for the team, by trying to bring in methods and skills,” he noted. “But the Coach is nothing without the willingness of his players.”

The tactician has picked a 22-man squad for the game. Eljero Elia returns to the party after his recent omissions.

Squad: 1 Buffon 3 Chiellini 4 Caceres 7 Pepe 8 Marchisio 10 Del Piero 11 De Ceglie 13 Manninger 14 Vucinic 15 Barzagli 17 Elia 19 Bonucci 20 Padoin 21 Pirlo 22 Vidal 23 Borriello 24 Giaccherini 26 Lichtsteiner 28 Estigarribia 30 Storari 32 Matri 34 Marrone.