Sunday March 10 2013
Conte: 'Serie A still stressful'

Antonio Conte hailed the Juventus battling spirit after a last-gasp win over Catania, but insists the Scudetto race is still “tough and stressful.”

Emanuele Giaccherini got the winner deep into stoppages for a 1-0 result in Turin, sending them nine points clear of second-placed Napoli.

“It was a game we wanted to win at all costs with great strength and heart,” said the Coach.

“Catania were well-organised and made it difficult for us, especially with Alejandro Gomez and Lucas Castro so dangerous on the counter-attack.”

Napoli’s 2-0 defeat to Chievo has all but handed a second consecutive Serie A title to Juventus.

“We are focusing only on ourselves, as this is a tough and stressful League in every aspect,” continued Conte.

“Last season if we had finished third, then the club and fans would’ve been very happy. This year we started out as favourites and winning again is never easy. We cannot make calculations right now, so take it one game at a time.

“This week has been very tough in physical and psychological terms, so I gave my lads one free day tomorrow. If we do well to achieve our objective, then we can relax a little more.”

Paul Pogba provided the assist for Giaccherini and is becoming an increasingly key figure to the Juve midfield.

“I wasn’t satisfied with Pogba in the first half, while he was important after the break. He needs to grow, improve, keep his head down and work with humility.

“The strength of our squad is in the group, as with us individuals get the best out of themselves by playing with their teammates, unlike in other teams.”

Milan are now in third place and 11 points adrift of Juventus, but Conte had a message for them.

“I am cheering them on in the Champions League against Barcelona because they are an Italian club. They’re revamped the squad and brought down the average age, so they are dangerous opponents in Serie A.”

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