Saturday November 5 2011
Conte: 'Napoli the toughest test'

Antonio Conte feels Sunday night's trip to Napoli is “the toughest test” his Juventus will face for the Scudetto.

The Bianconeri have already beaten Milan and Inter to go top of the table, so their confidence is sky high going into the San Paolo.

“I saw Napoli's game against Bayern Munich on Wednesday and, aside from the start, they showed great strength. It's not easy to fight back from 3-0 down,” said the Coach.

“It was no coincidence that right from the start of the season I said Napoli were one of the candidates for the Scudetto. I see the great work that has been done there, first by Edy Reja and then Walter Mazzarri.”

Both these clubs have gone through hard times and experienced Serie B, whether down to Calciopoli or bankruptcy.

“Napoli have a two-year advantage over us, as in that time they formed and maintained the spine of the team,” continued Conte.

“Let us not forget they were in Serie B like Juve five years ago. They found the right people and a project to work on, so now they are fighting for the Scudetto and are protagonists in Europe despite the toughest group draw.

“I'm confident the Champions League game won't have bad after-effects for Napoli, as everyone in the city is waiting for this match.”

Conte's men have already seen off the big San Siro two this season and hope to take advantage of Napoli's difficulties balancing Champions League with Serie A commitments.

“I admire Mazzarri a great deal, but we do not fear anyone, so we're going to the San Paolo to play our game. We have studied Napoli, know their strong points and also where we can hurt them.

“Besides, I am curious to see my squad in such a difficult situation. Someone tried to compare the current team with the Juventus I played in, but that's very, very premature. That side reached five consecutive international cup finals.

“We were like today's Barcelona, even if we didn't realise it at the time. Right now this team is a work in progress and we are trying to construct something important to get back to those levels.”

Conte also reacted to questions about Alessandro Del Piero and other tactical decisions.

“Let me make something clear. Nobody loves Juve more than me. I have a large squad and have to make certain decisions. I could make them wrong, but I am not here to be a fan, I'm here to be a Coach. I am paid to bring Juve back to where they belong.

“I understand the fans and everyone who has an opinion, but while I am on this bench, I am in charge.”

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