Saturday November 23 2013
Conte: 'No Juve alibis in Livorno'

Antonio Conte loses Andrea Barzagli against Livorno too and tests Arturo Vidal in defence, but “it mustn’t become an alibi.”

The Bianconeri travel to Livorno on Sunday afternoon, click here for a match preview.

“We will encounter a very fiery atmosphere in Livorno and a stadium full of enthusiasm,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“They are a very organised team with a young Coach who already showed his talents in Serie B. We must be wary, because against Juventus the small clubs tend to play the game of their lives.”

Conte admits his men aren’t in the best shape, as Leonardo Bonucci and Angelo Ogbonna are suspended, with Barzagli, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Mauricio Isla and Sebastian Giovinco injured.

There have been reports he could even use Chilean midfielder Vidal in central defence to plug the holes.

“It has been a complicated week. Some returned late from international duty and I haven’t had a chance to work with the whole squad together. We also had injuries, but these mustn’t become an alibi, as I have faith in our organisation. Vidal in defence? We did try several different options.

“I was angry seeing some nasty things written about Barzagli. He is an exemplary professional and this injury means he probably won’t be available against Copenhagen either.”

Juve are in second place, just one point shy of leaders Roma, who remain unbeaten albeit with two draws in as many games.

“We are doing well in Serie A, perhaps even better than last season, but so far Roma’s form has eclipsed us. The competition is fierce this year.”

Conte had advice for Paul Pogba, who is expected to sign a contract extension soon.

“I always said he has the qualities to become a world class player, the important thing is that he keeps his head on track. I have seen many young players, especially when I was starting out, who were potentially much stronger than me, but in the end they only made it to the amateur leagues.”

The club lost an appeal against the closing down of the Curva Sud after anti-Neapolitan chants, so for their next home match this area of the stands will be filled with children instead.

“It’s a good move, though I’d be even happier to see children and ultras cheering on their team together in a civil manner. Support must be about union, not division.”

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