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28 Feb 2014 - in: Europa League

Conte lauds “advert for Italian football abroad”

The coach was entirely satisfied with the Bianconeri's faultless showing in Trabzon

Antonio Conte couldn't have been anything but pleased with his team and the convincing way in which they went about setting up a last-16 clash with Fiorentina, flooring Trabzonspor with a swift one-two in the opening minutes of tonight's contest in Turkey.

It might have been Arturo Vidal and Dani Osvaldo who got the goals, but Conte was delighted with every one of his players.

Speaking after the final whistle, the Bianconeri boss began: “I'm really happy because unlike in the first leg we produced a top-notch display all around this time.

“In the first game we switched off at times and almost threw a spanner in the works, whereas today we went about our jobs exactly as we should.

“I'm also pleased because lots of people are getting to play, and if we want to keep going forward in both competitions, in Italy and in Europe, we need everyone brimming with confidence.”

As he had promised in his press conference on the eve of this second leg, Juventus set about the task with plenty of attacking intent.

“I said this before the game: don't expect us to sit on our two-goal advantage. We'll go out there to score goals and to win it, without thinking about our next fixture against Milan on Sunday.”

He was true to his word. Even after Juve had taken an 18th-minute lead, they continued to pile relentless pressure on Kivrak's goal right up to the final whistle. Yet Conte did admit that at a certain point he started to think about the bigger picture.

“Once qualification was in the bag and we were on the home straight some substitutions become inevitable, such as taking off Pogba and Caceres.”

Looking ahead to the round of 16, Conte spoke of his disappointment at having to square up with Fiorentina, but only because it means an Italian club will be forced to exit the competition.

“It's always a shame when two teams from the same country come up against each other in Europe. I'd like all the Italian sides to be able to stay in it. We've been handed Fiorentina next and we're very relaxed about facing them, even though they'll provide a stern test for us.”

The coach signed off by heaping further glowing praise on his charges, stating that the football they played tonight was “an advert for the Italian game abroad.”