Saturday January 25 2014
Conte: 'Juve proved themselves'

Antonio Conte believes the 1-1 draw against Lazio with 10 men “proved why Juventus are top of the table.”

Despite Gigi Buffon’s red card after just 25 minutes, the Bianconeri fought back to earn a point at the Stadio Olimpico.

“We wanted to win, both with 11 men and with 10. What we try to drill into the players is a winning mentality and these lads know full well every game must be played to win, even when the goalkeeper is sent off after 25 minutes,” Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

“I think that in difficult times the men emerge as well as the players, which is what happened today.

“We picked up a point and I think the team proved again tonight why they are top of the table. Juventus never gave in, continued to play football and trying to win the game despite going down to 10 men.

“It’s a shame we interrupt the 12 consecutive Serie A victories, but these things happen and Lazio deserve credit for their performance.”

With the dismissal, Carlos Tevez was temporarily used in a wide left position, but returned to the front in the closing stages.

“This squad has players who can take different roles, but generally not ones who sit in front of the defence.

“Marchisio, Vidal, Pogba and also Pirlo are more suited to a three-man midfield. Tevez did well in the second half to go left when needed to stem Lazio’s attacks, then I moved him back next to Llorente for a 3-4-2.”

There could be few complaints on Buffon’s dismissal, as he brought down Miroslav Klose in the six-yard box.

“Inevitably it’s disappointing that there’s this rule, because I think a penalty is punishment enough without the need for a red card,” added Conte.

“I’ve said that for years, regardless of whether it’s in our favour or against, as it ruins the game, especially as sometimes they give a yellow card, sometimes a red, so it’s never quite clear.”

Lazio came very close to a winner, as Klose’s header from a Cristian Ledesma free kick was palmed on to the bar by Marco Storari.

“The offside trap didn’t move properly, as Lichtsteiner kept everyone in play and Klose came round the back of Ogbonna. It requires more concentration so everyone moves together.”

Conte also reiterated he will not hold a pre-match Press conference ahead of next week’s Juventus-Inter.

“I will not speak before the Inter game, nor before any other match for the rest of the season.”

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