Antonio Conte says his men are fully determined to put the disappointment of two successive defeats behind them by relaunching their Scudetto defence with a home win over Genoa tomorrow afternoon.
Despite producing positive performances in recent fixtures against Fiorentina and Real Madrid, a combination of individual errors and misfortune has seen the Bianconeri leave empty-handed from both encounters.
But Conte believes the time has come for his charges to unleash their frustrations on a Genoa side that hold a two-year unbeaten record at Juventus Stadium.
Addressing the media at Juventus Stadium, the 44-year-old began: “The lads have reaped a lot less than they sowed in the past two games. We need to get back to winning ways in the championship, we approach the game following our first defeat of the season, which came after six victories and a draw, and we’ll have to draw on plenty of mental and physical energy - but we’re ready.”
Wednesday night’s Champions League fixture at the Bernabeu saw Conte revert from his established 3-5-2 system to a 4-3-3 layout in his bid to contain the undoubted attacking talent boasted by Real Madrid.
His team adapted well to the change in formation and, despite the current injury problems suffered in attack, he remains convinced that the flexibility of his those available gives him multiple options when deciding how best to overcome the opposition.
“I’ll make my decisions based on the game in Madrid and also with an eye on our upcoming encounters. We’ve got two possible systems of play and we’ll look to make the most of them, perhaps even by changing our formation during the course of the game.
“The injury situation means we’ll have to grit our teeth as far as the strikers are concerned. Vucinic and Lichtsteiner are continuing on the road to recovery and we hope to have them available as soon as possible. Giovinco is still carrying a problem picked up from the Milan game and fingers crossed Quagliarella will also soon be back in contention.”
Journalists then asked for Conte’s interpretation of yesterday’s speech made by Andrea Agnelli at the Juventus shareholders’ meeting, in which the club president warned against the dangers of complacency as the team bids for its third successive title.
It is a sentiment the Bianconeri manager is fully in tune with.
“The president wanted to send out a message to everyone. The difficulty of us winning this year is something I’ve been repeating since the end of July. The fact that I started shouting ‘watch out, watch out’ so early enabled me to ensure the team was on the right path. If I hadn’t done that then we would have now found ourselves unprepared for difficult situations.”
Yesterday’s annual meeting at Juventus Stadium also saw Giuseppe Marotta quizzed on Conte’s future in the Juventus dugout amid speculation that this could be his last season in Turin.
It is a line of questioning that Conte puts down to outsiders seeking to undo the good work done by everyone at the club over the previous two seasons.
“These discussions form part of attempts to destabilise an environment that has created a small ‘war machine’ over the past two years. I think that it would be impossible to top our achievements in that period.”
Looking to the future, Conte concluded by issuing a rallying cry in which he also called on the club’s supporters to help create the right atmosphere for his team to continue their magnificent success under his stewardship.
“We need to look forward and to keep winning we’ll require everyone involved to rediscover the enthusiasm and hunger that surrounded us two years ago. It also applies to the fans. When teams come to the stadium they need to be ‘set upon’ by 11 players, but also by those in the stands.”