Antonio Conte believes the Bianconeri will be lining up against one of the favourites for this season’s Scudetto crown when they take on Milan at Juventus Stadium on Sunday night.
Tomorrow’s visitors approach the game in mid table following a mixed start to the championship but Conte is adamant the Rossoneri will be there or thereabouts come the end of the current campaign.
Speaking to the media in Vinovo, the 44-year-old began: “It will be a game between two teams who want to be up there fighting at the top of the table. Milan have had the misfortune of coming up against a great Juventus side over the past two years, otherwise they would have kept on winning. That’s been their biggest problem. They’re a compact, cohesive unit and are among the favourites for eventual Scudetto glory.”
Despite lying in a strong position just shy of table toppers Roma following an unbeaten introduction to 2013/14, Juventus have seen their recent performances come in for an element of criticism from certain sections of the media.
But Conte insists he will always maintain a balanced outlook when assessing his side’s displays and pointed to several statistics which show the Bianconeri to be on the right track in their approach.
“In Italy we’ve had the least shots come in against us, yet we’ve conceded five goals. In Europe we’ve recorded the highest amount of shots on goal, even more than Real, yet we’ve drawn two games. They’re important figures, but there have been a few too many individual errors. We’ll take heed of them and keep working to improve.
“Roma have won six games out of six, we’ve won five from six, drawing against Inter, who can join the Giallorossi in aiming for the title. But you would be forgiven for thinking we've lost three. Last year the results hid the fact that our opening performances were disappointing, and we won games we could have lost or drawn, such as the encounters with Genoa and Siena.
“It will be a tough season because our rivals have strengthened and nobody would like to see Juventus win a third consecutive Scudetto. But we’ve experienced two thrilling years and this could also be a great season as well.”
Tomorrow afternoon will herald the return of Alessandro Matri, with the striker set to line up against his former employers for the first time since completing a summer switch to the San Siro.
And Conte claims he will welcome the popular player back with open arms, providing he doesn’t open his Milan account at Juventus Stadium.
He concluded: “I wish Matri all the best, he’s an excellent player and a great lad, but I hope he doesn’t get off the mark tomorrow night.”