Thursday April 3 2014
Conte: 'Lyon tried to block Juve'

Antonio Conte said Lyon “tried to stop Juventus playing” and reassured fans on the Carlos Tevez injury.

Leonardo Bonucci scored five minutes from time to snatch a 1-0 first leg Europa League quarter-final win at the Stade de Gerland.

“I was never worried by the fitness levels, as this team has always worked hard despite playing so many games this season,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“We do tend to do better in the second half than the first recently, against Fiorentina and also Napoli.

“It was tough today, as Lyon were above all trying to stop us from playing with man-marking all over the field. In that type of situation, you have to hope there’s a one-on-one that goes well or moves practiced in training that go as planned.

“Inevitably, Lyon lost in intensity in the second half, we moved better off the ball and created several chances.

“I think the victory is a deserved result, but we know that we have achieved nothing yet, there is a second leg to play and a semi-final to achieve.”

Tevez went off in the second half after pulling up with a thigh problem.

“Carlos already felt a little pain in his thigh during the last game with Parma and we agreed the moment he felt pain in that area he should come off, as we didn’t want to take any stupid risks.

“Those who came off the bench did very well and I am very happy.”

Sebastian Giovinco came off the bench and was impressive, creating several dangerous opportunities.

“There aren’t enough people who praise Giovinco, who in my view has incredible quality. He needs to believe in himself even more and realise he can make the difference at a big club like Juventus the same way he did at Parma.

“I am happy that Tevez and Osvaldo did well, but we are also rediscovering Mirko Vucinic although he can’t even really play 70 minutes yet.

“We came to Lyon not to defend ourselves, but to attack and get the win that would make the second leg a little more comfortable for us. I wanted to point out the mentality of the side here.”

This evening general manager Beppe Marotta criticised Napoli for their “excessive euphoria” after beating Juventus on Sunday and said they had a “provincial” attitude.

“I am looking only to us,” shrugged Conte when asked about these comments.

“Napoli was in the past, the lads must understand and even be pleased that those who win against us act as if they achieved something extraordinary. Everyone plays the games of their lives against Juventus and that ought to make us proud.

“Inevitably it becomes news when Juve lose, so it gets discussed everywhere. The players and of course their Coach know what it means to represent Juventus and the pressure that entails.”

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