Saturday September 14 2013
Conte: 'Inter and Juve are strong'

Antonio Conte believes the Derby d’Italia draw showed Inter and Juventus can fight for the Scudetto this term.

“We confirmed today that Inter can target the top of the table this season, while Juventus are very tough to beat,” he told Sky Sport Italia after a 1-1 draw.

“I saw my team play very well in a difficult arena against a side that has everything to compete right to the end, as they don’t have European commitments and therefore will have better fitness levels.

“What I liked best was the effort and desire to do well. We went a goal down, but reacted with anger and could’ve gone 2-1 up straight after.

“At the start of the second half we should’ve kept more alert and concentrated, though it was tough after so many had been on international duty and some of them paid the consequences.”

Stephan Lichtsteiner was substituted at half-time after risking a second yellow card.

“Stephan had received a booking and he ran a risk with a challenge when all the Inter players ran over to the referee asking he be sent off. With my experience as a player, I know that in these cases the referee is just waiting for the next incident to flash the red card. In fact, I held on until half-time, as I could’ve substituted him earlier.”

Conte has used the same starting XI in each of the three Serie A games so far this season.

“Squad rotation will be done when it is opportune. Serie A is our real objective right now and we can achieve something historic this season.

“I never would’ve dreamed of rotating the squad against Inter. In these next few games we’ll see how strong we really are, as so far we’ve only played once a week. I trust the lads who haven’t played as much so far.

“Fabio Quagliarella is in good shape and is perhaps in his best form since I’ve been at Juventus. He is training very well and I keep him in mind, as everyone has a chance of playing.

“Fernando Llorente is part of the squad, but he was out for a year and that means losing sharpness, so he needs time to get back to full fitness. I won’t throw him into the mix before he’s ready just to keep the media happy.”

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