Antonio Conte says he is expecting tomorrow’s opponents Lazio to come out all guns blazing as they seek to avenge the 4-0 Super Cup reverse suffered when the two sides last met a fortnight ago in the capital.
Opposing number Vladimir Petkovic spoke earlier of the Biancocelesti’s determination to erase the lingering memories of a heavy defeat on home soil by showing their true value on Saturday night at Juventus Stadium.
And Conte echoed the Bosnian’s sentiments by insisting the final outcome in Rome has no accurate bearing on the difference in quality between the two sides.
Addressing the media in Vinovo, Conte began: “Tomorrow will be a different game entirely. A trophy was handed out in Rome and we’re happy to have won it, but the final score doesn’t reflect the difference between the sides.
“Lazio are equipped to fight for the top spots, have always made it difficult for us and will do again tomorrow. We’ll no doubt run into certain difficulties, but we also want to create some of our own.”
Much of Conte’s good work since making the transition from player to manager has been in his tactical acumen and ability to adapt his ideas to get the best out of the pool of players at his disposal.
This flexible approach has drawn plenty of admiring glances from far and wide and prompted many to regard Juventus as one of the most important models to follow in club football.
“It also happened to me when I was at Bari, when I won Serie B using a 4-2-4 system, and many adopted the same system the following year. However it’s not the formation that makes the difference, it’s the principles. And from that point of view I believe Juventus are an example for the rest.”
With Alessandro Matri’s transfer to Milan fully confirmed prior to this afternoon’s press conference, a question on the striker’s departure was inevitable.
As with this summer’s sale of Emanuele Giaccherini to Sunderland, Conte expressed his sadness at losing a well-respected member of the dressing room, but claims the current economic situation in Italian football means all clubs will have to cut their cloth accordingly.
He concluded: “The sales of Matri and Giaccherini were painful decisions to make. I hear everyone say that the gap over the chasing pack has increased, when in reality we’ve been forced to lose an Italian international and a player who scored the most goals over the past two years and was also an important figure in the dressing room.
“This should represent a clear sign that the current economic conditions in Italian football also apply to Juventus. Aside from certain exceptions such as Napoli, clubs need to sell if they want to buy and we needed to recoup the 20 million spent on Tevez, Llorente and Ogbonna.”