Wednesday March 6 2013
Conte: 'A wonderful dream'

Antonio Conte concedes he and Juventus lack experience in Europe, so “this Champions League represents a wonderful dream.”

A fifth consecutive victory, beating Celtic 2-0 in Turin, sent them through to the quarter-finals.

The Bianconeri have the second best scoring record in the Champions League and the best defence, as they kept a clean sheet for 495 minutes of football.

“The statistics certainly make us smile, as they show the great journey we are on. This is our first Champions League in many years, while it is the first for me and many of our players,” Coach Conte told Mediaset.

“The Champions League represents a wonderful dream that we earned last season by winning the Scudetto. We got through a really tough group, have qualified for the quarter-finals and we’re very happy.”

Some in Italy are starting to suggest Juve could go for The Double, as they are top of the Serie A standings.

“It’s all very easy with words, but we have to keep our feet firmly on the ground. Without any false modesty, it will be very difficult for us to repeat our success in Serie A, as Europe takes a lot out of the players and their Coach.

“It is our first experience in two major competitions, so we are learning and it is a new challenge for us.

“There are also some strong antagonists in Serie A like Napoli, Lazio and Milan. It won’t be easy, but the important thing is we are building something special at Juventus.

“Whether we achieve our objectives or not, we are building something here and we should be satisfied.”

Juventus had won the first leg 3-0 at Parkhead, but Conte insisted he was nowhere near confident.

“At half-time I told the lads not to keep going so deep on the flanks. In all honesty, if you ask me whether I was relaxed before kick-off, then I’d say no. it’s not easy to face this type of game, even with a 3-0 first leg lead.

“I and many of the players do not have much experience of two-legged ties, so we had to take each game as a lone event. We had to be wary early on and avoid conceding free kicks as they are so strong in the air, as a goal could’ve introduced some fear into the team.

“We had prepared the game to take advantage of spaces when going two against two with their defenders.”

Juventus are in the quarter-finals, where they could face the likes of Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain or Bayern Munich.

“I believe in fate when it comes to this sort of thing, so we’ll see what the draw has for us. These fixtures come during some crucial moments in the Serie A calendar, so I have asked every player to train at their best, because we will need everyone.”

Conte had been critical of supporters in the Juventus Stadium last week, claiming they didn’t make enough noise and watched a game ‘as if they were at the theatre.’

“I want to thank the fans for their efforts tonight and compliment the Scottish supporters. To see them singing like that when 5-0 down on aggregate is truly something extraordinary. They deserved the applause of the whole stadium.”

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