Antonio Conte spoke of his delight at maintaining his 100 per cent managerial record in Derby della Mole encounters with this afternoon’s 1-0 win over Torino at the Stadio Olimpico.
The Bianconeri boss conceded his men were made to graft for the three points but expressed his satisfaction at their positive approach before lifting the lid on several second-half tactical adjustments that he felt changed the aspect of the game.
Speaking shortly after the final whistle, the 44-year-old said: “It wasn’t easy to win here and we’re delighted with the result. Today we were the team on the front foot, while Torino waited for us to slip up. We were more alert and precise than we have been of late, not giving our opponents a sniff, in spite of their strong counter-attacking threats.
“We reverted to the three-man backline that won the Scudetto, but let’s not forget Ogbonna, who is doing very well. We produced less in the final third, but that’s also credit to Torino. They’re tactically very well organised and make it difficult to find space in behind.
“When tiredness begins to creep in during the second half, you get more opportunities to cause problems for the opposition. I switched Pogba and Pirlo around and the move paid off. Arturo was closely man marked by El Kaddouri and Paul was able to impose his immense physical characteristics. When we scored I went to a four-man backline to avoid leaving three against three in defence.
“Did we miss Pirlo? He is unique and inimitable. However, we need to rotate the side to cope with our heavy fixture schedule and players need to train. That’s the approach we’ve adopted, certain changes could constitute risks, but I’ve got faith in my squad.”
Television replays later identified Carlos Tevez to be in an offside position for the Bianconeri’s winning goal, but Conte was quick to point out another controversial incident that went unpunished.
He added: “There was also the red card that should have been given for Immobile’s challenge on Tevez. I don’t know how the game would have finished if Torino had gone down to ten men for an hour. A team who attacks for 70 minutes will always produce more talking points, while if the others don’t step foot in your box, they can’t have cause for complaint."