16.09.2013 20:05 - in: Champions League S

    Conte: “We’ll learn from last year’s experience”

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    The Bianconeri manager says his team is determined to get off to a winning start in tomorrow evening's Champions League opener against FC Copenhagen: “We remember what happened here last year against Nordsjaelland, when we only managed to clinch a point right in the dying stages”

    Antonio Conte says the Bianconeri will be significantly bolstered by last year’s Champions League experience as they prepare to mount a convincing assault on this season’s elite European club competition.

    Their adventure begins in a familiar location, with Denmark’s Parken Stadium providing the venue for Juventus’ 1-1 surprise draw with FC Nordsjaelland in 2012.

    And Conte has urged his men to prevent history repeating itself when they line up against Danish Superliga champions FC Copenhagen tomorrow night.

    Speaking to reporters in the Danish capital, the 44-year-old began: “The last time we were here we only managed to clinch a point right at the end and risked our chances of getting out of the group stages. You have just six games and it’s always difficult to bounce back from any slip-ups.

    “I’m struggling to understand why Copenhagen find themselves in the position they’re currently in. We’ve studied them well, they play good football and always appear to have something over their opponents, even if the final outcome hasn’t always been positive. So we’ll need to pay great attention to them, taking heed of what happened here last year.”

    Conte will also be keeping a close eye on how the Bianconeri’s other Group B rivals – Real Madrid and Galatasaray – fare when they square up tomorrow evening in Istanbul.

    And whilst tipping Carlo Ancelotti’s men as favourites to top the group, the Juventus manager remains confident that his side’s role of outsiders will enable them to face this year’s competition with both realism and the desire to better last season’s quarter-final finish.     

    “It’s a fascinating group. Real Madrid, who have been chasing their tenth Champions League title for years and continue to spend heavily, will be regarded as favourites, at least on paper. We’ll be battling it out with Galatasaray for second place, but we’ll also need to pay attention to Copenhagen, who could cause an upset.

    “We know that there’s still a way to go and a year’s added experience will help us. We’ll be outsiders, but a dangerous outsider for anyone to face. We know who we are and how far we can go. We won’t place limits on our progress, but we’ll maintain a level of realism which will enable us to keep our feet on the ground.”

    With last weekend’s 1-1 draw against Inter signalling the start of a run of seven games in the space of 25 days, Conte conceded that he will need to rotate his squad in order to guarantee a competitive starting line-up during the heavy fixture pile-up.

    “It’s inevitable that I’ll rotate the side in this important period, looking to grant rest to those who need it in order to have them ready for the next game. What won’t change, however, is our philosophy.

    “Pirlo doesn’t need a break at present and will start tomorrow. I believe you can change a maximum of four players at a time, in order to avoid upsetting the balance of the side too much, but I’m convinced I’ll get the right responses from everyone.”

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