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09 Dec 2012

Conte: “A special team”

“It’s been a painful few months. We’ve been like a car forced to drive with flat tyres but, in spite of everything, we’re top of the league”

Antonio Conte celebrated a winning return to the dugout by guiding Juventus to a deserved 1-0 success over Palermo.

Before analysing his side’s performance at the Renzo Barbera, the manager spoke of his “pain” at being sidelined from the action during his four-month touchline ban.

Addressing reporters after the game, Conte said: “When you miss the smell of the grass it’s a bitter pill to swallow, even if you spend the entire week working with the team. The emotions of a game are unique and they’re things you miss, but the event I’ve come up against has been a formative process as far as I’m concerned. Obtaining the results that we have over the past few months means that I’ve got special players, a special squad and also suggests that, perhaps, I’m also special…”

The 43-year-old then moved on to hail the efforts of his backroom staff, reserving a special mention for Massimo Carrera and Angelo Alessio, and also thanked the club for all the support received over a testing period.

“I’d like to thank my staff, because Massimo and Angelo have done a fine job, and the club, who have always remained close to me. There’s a great alliance between us. When you carry out your job with passion and enthusiasm you miss being away during the game itself, but if I had to choose, it’s better to coach the players during the week and leave the 90 minutes to your backroom staff.

“We’ve been like a car forced to drive with flat tyres but, in spite of everything, we’re top of the league. Having a year of work behind us has helped us a great deal. If it had happened last year it would have been a tragedy for myself and the team.”

Concluding with a reflection on this afternoon’s win, Conte added: “We should have put the game to bed earlier. Of course, if we had drawn, we would have stayed locked in the dressing room for two days. We should have been more cynical, because dropping points today would have been a crime.”