Juventus
    28.12.2013 21:16 - in: The team S

    Conte: "Back into our stride, hungry and determined"

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    With the team set to resume training tomorrow, the coach is in Dubai for the Globe Soccer Awards. "Good ideas, responsive players and a strong club the secret to our success"

    He may be thousands of miles away but mentally Antonio Conte is still in Vinovo. The team gets back to work tomorrow following the Christmas break and will set about preparing for the showpiece match against Roma on 5 January. But the Bianconeri's initial preparations will get under way without their leader.

    Conte is in Dubai for the Globe Soccer Awards, where he's among the nominees for Best Coach of the Year and where today he took part in a debate on current affairs in football along with two other leading coaches, Fabio Capello and Josep Guardiola.

    He also took some time away from the event to give an interview to Sky Italia.

    Speaking from the United Arab Emirates, the coach explained that he's raring to go again: "We have to get straight back into our stride after the break and make sure we keep doing well in Serie A, but also in the Coppa Italia and the Europa League.

    "We're still disappointed about our Champions League exit and the fact we got knocked out without having the chance to play our last game, but as I said at the time we shouldn't have let it go to the final match away to our direct rivals.

    "We have to learn from this elimination because as a squad we don't have a great deal of European experience.

    "We must keep going along our path and keep providing cheer for our fans as we have over the last two years, with the same hunger and determination."

    Many of football's biggest names have gathered in Dubai for the fourth edition of the annual get-together, among whom is superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, a player Juventus recently crossed swords with in the Champions League. And Europe's elite competition is exactly where Conte and Juventus hope to return as soon as possible and stake their own claim for the trophy.

    The coach commented on what it takes to challenge for European football's top prize: "Winning in Europe depends on others as well as ourselves. Take Bayern for example: they won everything last season then went and splashed out another 60 million in the summer.

    "A lot will come down to how much Italy can grow as a whole and how quickly we can return to our competitiveness of old. Remember how strong Serie A was when Juventus played four back-to-back European finals?

    "What would I be prepared to trade for Champions League success? Nothing because I know that sooner or later I'll win it. But you need hard work and good ideas if you want to improve, not just money. Ideas and planning are crucial."

    Two elements which Andrea Agnelli has integrated expertly since taking over the reins of the club, and to which he added another special element: Antonio Conte.

    The coach has more than proved his pedigree in recent years and, as we wait to discover who will walk away with the Coach of the Year accolade (the award ceremony takes place tomorrow evening), the Bianconeri boss was asked to comment on his own credentials.

    He replied: "I don't think I'm the best in the world. I'm an emerging coach who has done well. If I've managed that it's because I have ideas but also players who are prepared to carry them out, plus the backing of a strong club that has bought into my ideas. If the players and the club don't have absolute belief in you then it's another ball game altogether, so I owe them my gratitude for that."

    He concluded: "As a coach, it makes you proud to hear your players say that the team plays good football, especially when it comes from some of the last guys in like Tevez and Llorente."

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