Antonio Conte says he is pleased with the determination shown by his players in responding to Roma’s victory over Bologna with one of their own tonight against inter-city rivals Torino.
Speaking to reporters after the 1-0 triumph, the 44-year-old began: “We had the task of responding to Roma’s victory in Bologna and did well because these kinds of games are extremely difficult. Roma sent out a message yesterday and our reply came today.
“In spite of our extraordinary league season, I was actually calmer last year. We’ve got a fine team chasing us, who I consider superior to last year’s Napoli’s side.
“The fact they’re not involved in Europe means they can prepare extremely well for every game. In addition, they have enthusiasm and desire. To a certain extent they remind me of the Juventus side I had in my first season here.”
After masterminding his fourth consecutive Derby della Mole triumph as Juventus manager, Conte said the secret of tonight’s success lay in his team’s ability to nullify the counter-attacking threat posed by an in-form Granata side.
“Torino had nothing to lose, they’re already safe from the drop and, along with Verona, are the surprise package of this season.
“We did a good job in containing Cerci, a devastating player when operating in his natural position that Ventura’s restored him to, ith Asamoah and Caceres.
“We barely gave a team featuring the likes of Immobile, Cerci and El Kaddouri the opportunity to hit us on the counter. The most delicate moment when playing Torino comes when you’re attacking, because if you’re not on your guard they’ll strike on the counter.”
Looking ahead to Thursday’s crunch Europa League Round of 32 second leg clash with Trabzonspor, Conte talked up the importance of silencing what promises to be a red-hot atmosphere with an early goal.
He concluded: “Now we’ll focus on Thursday’s game. We’ll need to score as soon as possible because we’ll be playing in a heated atmosphere and qualification isn’t yet in the bag.”