Tuesday August 7 2012
Lippi: Juve strong without Conte

Marcello Lippi sees Juventus as in a strong position next season both in Serie A and Europe and even if Antonio Conte is suspended.

Conte faces a potential lengthy touchline ban both domestically and in Europe should he fail to prove his innocence over alleged involvement in the betting scandal. However, his former Coach at the Bianconeri does not believe that the club’s success next season necessarily hinges on the outcome of his trial.

“Will it affect things? A little, but not much,” Lippi told the Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Antonio is very involved with the games, to the point of losing his voice, but more important is the work done in the week.

“And he would still do that even if he is banned. I know Antonio as a person of true clarity and seriousness. I do not think he has done anything wrong.

“Are Juve favourites in the League? Yes, right now I do not see any team as strong as Juventus. Napoli are growing well, Inter have ended a cycle and are trying to start another.

“Milan have made some excellent sales but are without optimism and confidence. Roma is setting up a high level of training. But Juventus is still ahead.”

The World Cup-winning Coach also looked ahead to Juve’s return to European football and reflected on where they sit in comparison to others.

“What goals do Juve have in the Champions League? To have fun and be ambitious. The team is competitive, the new signings are very strong, [Gianluigi] Buffon and [Andrea] Pirlo are of great class.

“In Europe there are two teams, Barcelona and Real Madrid, who are in front of everyone. Then, there is a group of five or six teams including Juve.

“How do they reduce that gap? The key is in the belief in the work and in their quality. With the mind you can beat everyone.

“Then, the draw in the Champions League can be decisive, the encounters, at what time you meet each opponent. If Barcelona or Real Madrid are only to be met in the semi-final or final then it means that in the meantime you have a certain path to undertake and to grow up on.”