Saturday February 25 2012
Conte: 'Milan deserve praise'

Antonio Conte admitted “Milan deserved more” than a point, but engaged in a row on live TV because “both refereeing errors were equal.”

Juventus had spent weeks protesting at the controversial refereeing decisions that went against them, so there was huge pressure on the officials during tonight’s 1-1 draw.

The linesman, Romagnoli, made two errors when he failed to see Sulley Muntari’s header cross the line, then flagged Alessandro Matri offside.

“First of all we must praise Milan, as they played for an hour at the highest level and put us under pressure with our own weapons. Where I see that we went wrong, it’s also because they made us go wrong.

“Of course it’s tough to keep up that tempo and they collapsed at a certain point, while our substitutes brought fresh legs and allowed us to equalise.

“Let’s leave the Scudetto talk alone after this game. Anyone who saw this match realises Milan were wonderful, while Juve were lucky. We have a long way to go and Milan are a very strong team who proved it again today despite their many absentees.

“I compliment my lads for hanging in there and eventually snatching a draw at the end. That fightback showed our 24 games unbeaten are not down to luck, but also heart and hard work.”

Conte blamed the media and also accepted some responsibility for the tension around this fixture.

“These things happen. What I am disappointed by is that this game was fired up too much by everyone, both those within it and outside of it. The atmosphere in my view was not good for sport. It’s a shame, but the match is decided within the pitch and too many things happened this week.

“The most wonderful thing about all this was the match itself. The rest needs to be improved by everyone, including myself.

“The officials made two big mistakes again this evening. What can I say? These things happen and we take note one was in our favour and the other against us. We hope that the errors all even out at the end of the season for all the teams.”

However, Conte engaged in a row with former Milan star Zvonimir Boban, now a Sky Sport Italia pundit, when discussing the two incidents.

“I find it unacceptable that you can compare the two and say one error was more damaging than the other. Both goals were incorrectly disallowed and are therefore equal. What, was our goal not worth as much? I see no difference whatsoever. They were both mistakes.

“You always manage to make it into controversy, even when we come here very openly. For the last week we have been bombarded by questions and controversy, so the temperature was raised far too much.

“Admittedly, Milan deserved more from the match in terms of performance, but there were incidents against both teams tonight.”

The two eventually made peace and Conte apologised for using harsh words during the debate.

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