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16 Feb 2013

Conte: “We didn’t play as a team”

“We paid the price for our tiredness and an added day of rest would have been of use, but if we fail to produce what we work on in training, anyone can beat us”

Antonio Conte believes the Bianconeri’s heavy fixture schedule had a part to play in tonight’s defeat against Roma, but refused to hide behind a below par team display in the capital.

Speaking to Sky Italia following a disappointing night in Rome, Conte said: “I said it before we played against Fiorentina: I wasn’t particularly happy about playing three games in a week. We paid the price for our tiredness and an added day’s rest would have been of use.

“I hope that in future, when the fixture list is being compiled, there’s a bit more of respect for the team that is taking Italy forward in Europe.

“This is, however, the only excuse I can give for today’s performance. We didn’t play as a team and anyone can beat us when we perform as such. We took a step back today and I hope this serves as a lesson for us.”

After coming through taxing fixtures against Fiorentina and Celtic unscathed, Conte admitted that he asked his players if they felt capable of performing in the build-up to tonight’s clash with the Giallorossi.

“I asked the players today if there was anyone who didn’t feel up to it and nobody came forward. The pitch gave me a different response and I didn’t like the team’s performance. If we fail to produce what we work on in training then everyone will be out of sorts.

“Evidence of this can be found in Asamoah’s display. He spent a month and a half with his national side and today he looked like a fish out of water. This conveys the importance of work.”