Sunday February 23 2014
Conte: 'Juve adjusted for Toro'

Antonio Conte revealed Juventus adjusted their tactics to limit Torino and was uncertain on the penalty controversy.

Carlos Tevez secured a 1-0 victory for the Bianconeri, though Omar El Kaddouri appeared to be tripped by Andrea Pirlo in the final minutes.

“I don’t see a fatigue problem. Inevitably these are very, very difficult games, as Torino had nothing to lose. Along with Verona they are the revelations of this campaign,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“In my view our game was tactically perfect, as we played with cool heads and hot hearts. We allowed Torino very few chances and tried to limit their counter-attacks, which are their main strengths.

“Immobile, Cerci and El Kaddouri can hurt any opponents and we ran the real risk of letting them through if we weren’t 100 per cent concentrated. It was not simple and I am very happy with the response from the lads just three days after the Europa League game.

“Now we have to focus on Thursday, as there will be a fiery atmosphere in Turkey and anyone who thinks we’ve already qualified is wrong. We need to score there as soon as possible.

“Torino play an atypical 3-5-2, as it’s more of a 3-5-1-1 with one striker much wider than the other. Cerci as a forward is changing his characteristics, but then he cuts inside and can become devastating. I think we did a great job tactically to limit them.”

Conte revealed the relative lack of crosses, instead playing ball to feet through the middle, was a tactical choice.

“What we did tonight was not improvised, that’s for sure. We evaluated the situation. We needed the ball to reach the strikers, not for the strikers to come back to get the ball, as that left us enough room to get back and block off any counter-attacks or at least give them a lot more work to do.”

Conte was shown the footage of the El Kaddouri incident from several different angles and sighed.

“Let’s say El Kaddouri was prepared for it, but there was contact too. I’ll admit anything could’ve happened there – a penalty or a booking for simulation. Thankfully, the referee made the right decision for us!” he laughed.

“Compliments to Torino for an extraordinary campaign and to Giampiero Ventura for his great work. I rarely give compliments, but they are well deserved in this case.”

Juve maintained their nine-point advantage over Roma – who have a game in hand – but Conte confessed to being worried.

“If you ask me if I’m more relaxed this season or this, I’ll be honest and say last year. We’re having a great campaign, but Roma are playing great football and have enthusiasm. Are they more dangerous than Napoli were last year? Yes. Definitely.

“They don’t have any European commitments either, aren’t getting anything wrong and in many ways remind me of my first year at Juventus. We have to be very wary, as when we gift points like we did at Verona then it gives those behind us even more hope.

“Roma sent us a message last night, we replied today and next week we’ll play away to Milan. What worries me is that we won’t get back from Turkey until Friday morning at 7am and then play on Sunday evening, so we’ll barely get any rest.

“I know I might not be likeable to many, but I am very concentrated, focused and ferocious in my work. I think you have to be like that to achieve success.”