Juventus
    Juventus
      25.04.2014 00:58 - in: Europa League S

      Conte: "Optimistic and confident"

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      The Bianconeri boss praised his troops for the intensity and tempo of their game in Lisbon and feels the Juventus Stadium faithful can help send his team into the final next week

      Disappointed with the result despite the number of chances created at the Estadio da Luz, but upbeat about Juve's chances of turning it around in Turin. That's Antonio Conte's view in a nutshell after round one of the Bianconeri's Europa League semi-final.

      Speaking to the media in Lisbon after Lima's 84th-minute wonder strike saw Benfica edge the first leg 2-1, the coach said: "We're really disappointed with the scoreline, it's an unfair reflection of the game. We didn't get off to the best of starts, and we know what can happen if you let Benfica build up a head of steam, but in the second half we had them under the cosh. It seemed like they were going to keel over at any moment but then they pulled something out of the bag. We fell asleep a bit on that second goal."

      The Bianconeri boss then analysed the match from a tactical point of view: "Benfica only had a few counter-attacks. We tried to channel our play down the middle because there were a few gaps to be found there. Markovic was struggling to keep tabs on Asamoah on the wings so I asked the team to spread play out wide. We just needed to be a bit more clinical in front of goal," he lamented.

      Conte went on: "We're optimistic and confident regardless of how we performed tonight. It wasn't easy to come here and take the game to them. They played on the break the whole time, while we played a continental style of football, with intensity and a high tempo to our play. It was a good game and we did Italian football proud," he added, clearly pleased with his charges' overall display.

      Juve will now head back to Turin in the knowledge that, "The tie is still open. We'll do everything we possibly can at Juventus Stadium, boosted by our fans."

      Indeed the coach will be counting on the Bianconeri faithful next Thursday, after admitting that the home supporters made a difference tonight: "The Benfica fans were incredible. But I know that our own fans are perfectly capable of turning up the heat at the Stadium and propelling us into the final."

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