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19 Jan 2014 - in: Serie A

Conte: “Preparation proved key”

The Bianconeri manager speaks of the importance of thorough planning on the training ground and praises opposite number Sinisa Mihajlovic for his team’s positive outlook

Antonio Conte says thorough preparation was the key aspect to this evening’s 4-2 win over an in-form Sampdoria side who gave as good as they got during an entertaining 90 minutes for the neutral in Turin.

The 44-year-old did concede that his men will have to improve when defending set pieces after witnessing them ship their third goal in two games from dead ball situations.  

Speaking to the media after the final whistle in Turin, Conte began: “We did well to prepare in the correct manner, otherwise it would have been tough to beat a Sampdoria side in excellent form. Their most dangerous moments came from corner kicks and we need to work on this aspect.

“It’s the third goal we’ve conceded in the last two games from such a situation and we can’t allow ourselves to compromise games we’re dominating. Hats off to them though, they gave us great difficulty from set pieces.”

Praise did come in the form of the team’s concentration levels, which remained high throughout and enabled the reigning champions to ride out a turbulent few minutes after Sampdoria had struck their second.

“Games are never over and today’s a testament to that. You need to always be fully focused. This has been the difference between us and the others over the past two-and-a-half years.”

Also on the receiving end of credit from Conte was opposite number Sinisa Mihajlovic, whose side travelled to Turin with the intention of playing the Bianconeri at their own game.

He concluded: “They tried to hurt us when they had the ball and I’m happier when we’re up against teams who come here and have a go, rather than those who sit back and put men behind the ball. I think the crowd enjoyed themselves today, watching two teams who like to get the ball down and play.”