Saturday December 8 2012
Nedved: 'Conte is our top player'

Juventus legend Pavel Nedved feels Coach Antonio Conte – who returns to the bench on Sunday – is the “world class” reinforcement they needed.

The tactician has been banished to the stands all season, although able to take control of day to day training, but his ban in the betting scandal has now expired and he’ll be on the touchline for tomorrow’s trip to Palermo.

“The happy days are over for the team!” joked Nedved. “As a player I wouldn’t have wanted Conte shouting at me from the bench... All joking aside, they suspended a world class Coach and with his return it’ll be tougher for everyone to stop us.

“I have to compliment the players for the way they reacted even without him. Knowing Conte, he will have suffered a great deal being away from the action, but I want him to put that all behind him and look to the future.”

The former midfielder and current director of the Bianconeri is buoyed by their passage into the Champions League Round of 16 as group winners.

“Perhaps there are three or four teams in that competition better equipped than we are, but there is very little difference. In any case, the strongest on paper do not always win,” declared Nedved.

“It is a difficult tournament, because you can go out by getting 20 minutes wrong over two legs. I’d like to avoid Real Madrid in the next round, but it all depends on which team is on form at that time. You need a little luck in the Champions League too.”

Nedved was the star of the 2003 campaign that got Juve to the Final, but was suspended for the decider against Milan at Old Trafford.

“I never got to win the Champions League as a player, although that was my objective when I arrived at Juve, but it would be very satisfying to touch the trophy as a director.

“It all depends on us. If we play like the real Juve, then we leave the others little or no hope.”

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