Antonio Conte has stressed that the Serie A title race is by no means decided yet, predicting Roma will push the Bianconeri right until the very end as the season enters ever more decisive territory.
The Juventus boss maintained that his team are in a good position to go on and lift a third consecutive Scudetto crown, but a 3-1 Giallorossi win over Atalanta last night reduced the points gap to just five, and he insisted that the men in black and white stripes will need to channel strength from being in the running both domestically and in Europe if they're to fulfill their objectives.
Speaking to journalists at Juventus Center, Conte began: “The title race is still open, I’ve always said that. I expected the head-to-head with Roma to go down to the wire. They’re a strong adversary and will fight until the end.”
The latest obstacle in Juve’s path to the title is tomorrow night’s away trip to Udinese, who will be determined to topple the Italian champions not least to avenge a 4-1 defeat in front of their home public last season.
But Conte stressed that by now the Bianconeri are accustomed to coming up against a side playing the game of their lives.
“Opposition teams pull out all the stops when they're up against Juve but we've come to expect that.”
Turning to the subject of Arturo Vidal’s injury worry, the 44-year-old confirmed that the Chilean will travel with the squad to Udine.
“His knee is giving him a bit of trouble and we’ll assess whether he’ll start or not tomorrow.”
The Juve boss concluded by dismissing the idea that the need to tackle the demands of the Europa League and the Italian championship is a burden, instead stating that being in the running for both titles at this stage of the seaon should invigorate the Bianconeri for a strong end to the campaign.
“Juggling two competitions? This is where we wanted to be. It's all good experience for me, the players and the club because it helps us better understand how to face these challenges now and in the future.
“It's been a hard season physically and mentally but we're still in the running on two fronts and that’s stimulating for us. It must spur us on to approach the final stage of the season in the right way.”