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02 Apr 2013

Conte: "Hats off to them"

Coach magnanimous in defeat: "Bayern physically strong and fired up. Whatever happens we can be proud of having come this far"

One bad night can't ruin a fantastic season or take anything away from how much the team has grown over the last 16 months.

There was no sign of surrender from Antonio Conte after the 2-0 defeat to Bayern, but he did give a clear and frank assessment of this evening's Champions League quarter-final meeting at the Allianz Arena.

The coach had plenty of compliments for tonight's victors: "We were facing a great team, there's no novelty there, one of the favourites to lift the trophy. Physically they're very strong, they were tough in the tackle and fired up after losing last year's final.

"Games like this can only help us grow and realise that we still have some way to go before we're on a par with Europe's top sides. Bayern spent €48 million just on Martinez last summer – that's unthinkable for us."

Conte then cast his eye on the week that lies ahead: "We have a league game against Pescara on Saturday and immediately after that we'll focus on the return leg.

"Football is full of surprises and we won't lie down till it's over. We know that whatever happens we can already be proud of having come this far just 16 months after starting out together."