20 Dec 2012

Conte confident of positive response

The Bianconeri boss believes his men will produce a focused display in their final game of 2012 against Cagliari in Parma

Antonio Conte is confident Juventus will display the right mentality in tomorrow night’s final Serie A game of 2012, but admits the loss of influential defender Giorgio Chiellini represents a major blow.

Before discussing the Bianconeri’s prospects against Cagliari, Conte began by sending his best wishes to Tito Vilanova after it was revealed the Barcelona coach will undergo cancer surgery.

The 43-year-old said: “I would like to wish Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova all the very best. He has been forced to face a much more challenging battle than the one on the football pitch. I hope to see him back on Barca’s bench as soon as possible.”

Returning to discuss his side’s preparations for Friday night’s away clash with the Rossoblu, Conte outlined his belief that Juventus have what it takes to compensate for the absence of Giorgio Chiellini, who pulled up during yesterday’s training session with a calf injury.  

He said:  “It’s a shame Chiellini’s injured, he’s a player everyone would like to have, for what he offers both on and off the field of play. He’s one of our leaders. But I’m convinced he’ll come back stronger than before, looking to recover as soon as possible with the help of the club’s medical staff.

“Vucinic is another player with a slight ailment. We’ll have a look at him today in training and make the necessary evaluations. We’ll look to manage the current situation in the best possible way, perhaps it’s the first game we’ll face with a series of injury problems. Having said that, I’m convinced the team will respond in the correct manner.”

With Mayan philosophers predicting the apocalypse on 21/12/12, Conte was asked who he would pay tribute to in the event of the world ending tonight.

“I’d give my Oscar to my players and club for the work done over the past year and a half. I’m aware that I’m at a special club with special players. They’ve achieved something incredible and it’s a great honour for me to be their manager.”

Finally, a look ahead to this morning’s Champions League draw, which will take place as Conte puts the finishing touches on his preparations for tomorrow night’s game at the Stadio Tardini.

He concluded:  “We’re back experiencing the excitement of the draw, which forms part of our process of development we mapped when set off on this journey.

“I think it’s right we know our fate as soon as the draw is made, even though we’ll be training at the time. It won’t take any attention away from our Cagliari preparations. We’ll have great respect for the team we face, but won’t fear anyone.”