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31 Mar 2014 - in: Serie A

Conte: “Injuries took their toll”

The Bianconeri boss analyses his team’s second Serie A reverse of the season

Antonio Conte believes the Bianconeri’s current injury crisis had a part to play in this evening’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of Napoli.

The manager admitted the hosts deserved the three points after a strong display in front of their own fans, but was left to ponder on what could have been a different game with greater options at his disposal.  

Speaking to reporters after the final whistle, the 44-year-old began: “It wasn’t a good first half in terms of approach and personality displayed. They did well to pin us back and we showed little aggression. We played better after the break, but Napoli deserved to win over the course of the 90 minutes. We paid the price for the fact that we can’t rotate due to injuries.

“Let’s also not forget that we were up against a Napoli side who have spent more than 100 million in the transfer market and are built to win. We’ve invested 25 million, balancing the books with the sales of Giaccherini, Matri and Marrone. We’ve bought excellent players in my three years here, but without spending those figures.”

The absence of the suspended Carlos Tevez saw Conte plump for Fernando Llorente and Dani Osvaldo as his strikeforce in Naples, and he maintains that all those called into action gave a good account of themselves.

“Whoever played today performed well. Remember that Vucinic has been out for two-and-a-half months, Giovinco returned for this game and Quagliarella has had some problems. Llorente is playing every game at present and Osvaldo always contributes well when called upon.

“Carlos is a player with plenty of personality and when games heat up he knows how to make his mark. He wasn’t with us today, but will be back for Lyon.”