Antonio Conte has spoken of his pride after guiding to Juventus to a record-breaking 11th successive Serie A victory with this afternoon’s triumph over Cagliari at the Stadio Sant’Elia.
Speaking to reporters following the full-time whistle in Sardinia, the 44-year-old began: “We’ve achieved an extraordinary goal. Juventus have never registered 11 consecutive victories and managing to do so fills us with pride and satisfaction.”
It wasn’t all plain sailing though, as the Bianconeri were required to draw on all their strength to cancel out Mauricio Pinilla’s opener before adding three further strikes to emerge from a tricky test with flying colours.
And Conte believes today’s opponents should be given credit for a positive approach which has previously yielded points from Scudetto contenders Roma and Napoli.
“We started off on the front foot but conceded from a set piece and could even have shipped another. It’s not often we grant our opponents these opportunities and I restored order by asking the lads to use their heads.
“I think Cagliari were made to pay for an hour of great physical exertion, in which they displayed all of their quality. Let’s not forget that this team drew here with Napoli and at the Stadio Olimpico against Roma.”
Pivotal to this afternoon’s final outcome was the introduction of midfielder Claudio Marchisio, who put the Bianconeri on course for all three points with a stunning strike that flashed past Antonio Adan.
With fierce competition for places in central midfield, Conte sought to pay tribute to Marchisio’s patience in waiting for his chance to shine before also lauding the contributions of Andrea Pirlo and Gigi Buffon.
“Claudio’s an important player for us. I need to thank him because he’s been a true champion and professional even when I’ve made changes and he’s been on the bench. He has Juve in his blood, is in good shape and when we needed to step things up a year in midfield, I thought of him.
“I was happy with Pirlo’s contribution up until that moment, he’s returning from injury and knows how important he is for us. He’s a true champion, as is Buffon who made some excellent saves today.”