Antonio Conte has hailed the Bianconeri’s unified performance on their way to recording an excellent 2-0 away win against Bologna this evening, their seventh on the trot in Serie A without conceding a goal.
The Juve manager rung the changes for his starting line-up at the Dall’Ara, with five new faces coming in ahead of Tuesday’s pivotal Champions League clash against Galatasaray, and he praised the way in which the new-look side responded.
Speaking after the final whistle, the 44-year-old began: “We have strong players, but also an organisation which is the bedrock of our game . Everyone knows the job they have to do, and it’s logical that, given the quality we have, everything becomes more straightforward.
“The nicest thing for me is seeing that the team are capable of playing at the same levels even after I’ve made five changes. I'm really happy with all the lads and I knew whoever I picked would have put in a great performance. Everyone works in the same way during training because all my players need to be ready for action.”
It wasn’t until late on that Giorgio Chiellini’s header ended any Rossoblu hopes of a comeback, though, and Conte went on to stress the importance of making sure the game is put to bed as soon as possible.
“When you're a goal ahead and have the chance to kill the game off, you need to, because anything can happen. If we think about Llorente’s missed opportunity, with the game stretched, and the risk we took in allowing them to come back at us on the counter, we can see how dangerous failure to close the game is.”
Despite the chance Llorente was unable to stick home, his manager proceeded to praise the overall performance of the Spaniard, who he believes continues to develop week in, week out.
“It was a good showing from Fernando, even if he made a few mistakes in front of goal. He’s improving a lot, including his hold-up play, but now he has to get better in terms of cutting edge and his finishing, because he should aim to be a lethal goalscorer and that's what we'll work towards now.”
He also talked up the efforts of the other Juve strikers in action tonight, who gave their all throughout the time they spent on the field.
“I'm also happy with Quagliarella, who played 70 intense minutes, and Vucinic, who was doing well before he had to come off.”
But aside from just praising individuals, the manager’s glowing words were also directed at the overall improvement of the team, who now look the slickest of operations.
“At the beginning of last year’s campaign I also saw things that I believed weren’t working well but were being disguised by victories. This season that was the case in July but, being lucky enough to have great lads who listen to everything I say, we’re now doing well. However, the road ahead is still long and full of testing hurdles to overcome.”
Conte concluded by turning his attentions to what is perhaps the most important test yet this season: Tuesday’s decisive Champions League fixture away against Galatasaray.
“Special speeches won’t be required to prepare for this game. We've made life difficult for ourselves in the Champions League and now it's down to us to put things right in Istanbul.”