Wednesday February 8 2012
Conte hails Juve squad

Antonio Conte insists Milan are still in the race for a Coppa Italia Final spot, but was “pleased with the response” from his Juventus players.

The Bianconeri won 2-1 at San Siro in the first leg of their semi-final this evening, even though they rotated their squad.

“I was pleased with the response from all the lads who stepped on to the field in an important game like the semi-final against Milan,” said Conte.

“It’s not just the result that counts, but the introduction of the newcomers who had a great game. Simone Padoin already knew certain tactical movements because I worked with him at Atalanta.

“Martin Caceres needs to do better in defensive terms, but I really cannot complain about his attacking movement tonight.”

Caceres scored both of Juve’s goals on his first start for the club since moving from Sevilla last month.

“I think this victory shows what hard work is behind the team, which allows us to rotate the squad without damaging the performance. I have to above all thank the players who don’t get as much space, but work hard all week anyway.

“This team has players who want to dream and know in order to achieve that dream they need to work, work, work.”

Juventus have a 2-1 away win in the first leg, so Milan must win in Turin and score at least two goals to qualify.

“The tie is still open, because Milan are a great team who can still have their say in the Coppa Italia,” added Conte.

“We have a very important second leg coming up and still have to earn this Final.”

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