Thursday December 20 2012
Conte: Juve have clear transfer plans

Juventus boss Antonio Conte insists the club’s transfer market plans will not change because of Giorgio Chiellini’s injury.

The stopper could be out for as long as three months which may leave the club short at the back given this week’s departure of Lucio.

“Chiellini’s injury is a shame because he is a leader, but I’m convinced that he’ll return stronger than before,” the tactician said on Thursday morning.

“The injury doesn’t change our January market plans though.

“We have clear ideas because, as well as the Chiellini injury, we’ll lose Kwadwo Asamoah to the African Cup of Nations and Lucio who has gone elsewhere.

“It’s sad that Lucio has left. I can only speak well of him because he demonstrated that he is a champion for the way he acted and for his work ethic.

“Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to insert Lucio into our three-man defence mechanisms – a system he had never played in. And he then had three strong internationals ahead of him.”

Juventus will end the year with a game against Cagliari on Friday, although the match has been switched to Parma.

“We didn’t know where we would be playing until yesterday afternoon, so we are the victims in this,” the boss added. “I hope this situation can be reflected on and brings the necessary improvements.

“The game? I’m convinced that my Juventus won’t let me down. We’ll be more concerned about scoring goals rather than what to pack in our suitcases for the winter break.

“We have more points than we had last season and we are travelling at an extraordinary pace. There are opponents out there and they are strong. Our objective is to do better than last year.”

Conte was also asked about the illness of Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova, Andrea Pirlo missing out on the Golden Ball and today’s Champions League draw.

“I want to say good luck to Tito Vilanova, who has to face a much more important battle than football. I hope to see him back on the Barcelona bench as soon as possible.

“Pirlo would not have been out of place on the podium. But it is right that the Golden Ball goes to Messi, a world-class player. Someone who scores 90 goals in a year has to win it. But, had I voted, Pirlo would have been in the top three.

“The last 16 of the Champions League? We don’t fear anyone, but we respect everyone.”

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