Saturday December 31 2011
Conte: 'Next Juve step'

Antonio Conte “could not have imagined being top of the table” going into 2012, as his Juventus plan is progressing much quicker than expected.

The Bianconeri finished seventh for two seasons on the trot, but Conte has them joint Serie A leaders alongside Milan.

“It has been a hard and satisfying 2011,” the Coach told Tuttosport. “I could not have imagined being top of the table at the end of the year, not even in my rosiest predictions. I hope to continue what we are doing in 2012 and increase Juve’s competitiveness until June.

“Scudetto? I take it step by step. The first was bringing credibility back to the squad, the second was guaranteeing consistency and the third... we’ll see.”

Conte is a Juve legend from his playing days and has quickly won over the fans as a tactician too.

“I have a special rapport with President Andrea Agnelli, without doubt. Our ties go back to when I played for a Juventus side that won everything and he was the son of the owner, Umberto. I see in him balance as well as passion and love.

“Am I a hard task-master in training? It’s all much easier than when I was a player, as back then we really did have our tongues hanging out. I have my method and won’t deny I grew up with a culture of work. I train the legs, head and heart. It’s called training, not a kick-about.

“I study every element of the team and want each player to know exactly what to do whether in possession or not, almost as if they were radio controlled from the bench.”

Conte has encountered some problems in Turin, too, such as leaving Alessandro Del Piero and Milos Krasic on the bench.

“Gigi Buffon and Del Piero are very important, both as players and men. We live in the present with Alex, as he loves Juve and Juve loves him. Milos is a timid person and he loves to run into space, which with our style of play isn’t really there.”

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