NEWS
Wednesday October 23 2013
Conte: 'Had to laugh' at ref

Antonio Conte “had to laugh” at the refereeing decisions, but saw a good Juventus performance against Real Madrid.

The Coach changed from his usual 3-5-2 system to a 4-3-3 at the Bernabeu, but the 2-1 defeat saw Giorgio Chiellini harshly sent off at the dawn of the second half.

“Juventus were changed, but on a system that this team knows very well, as for a while we played with 4-3-3,” Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

“I always said this side can play 4-3-3. We used Claudio Marchisio on the right flank and tried to bring more solidity in defence with Martin Caceres, as we knew Real could be dangerous on the counter.

“Juventus were aggressive against Real Madrid. When you attack Real, you have to be aggressive and focused, as otherwise you lose possession and leave open space to people like Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria. It’s an open invitation to a hammering.

“I think Real had a great deal of difficulty this evening. It is a painful match, but also lets us realise 10 against 11 we can still call on great organisation, heart and grit.”

Chiellini was shown a straight red card for what at first was thought to be an elbow on Ronaldo, but the referee’s gesture suggests it was for a clear scoring opportunity – again, strange when he was still 30 yards from goal.

“This game was certainly affected by some very, very dubious decisions, such as the Chiellini red card and a penalty on Arturo Vidal.

“There was absolutely not an elbow, but I still have to laugh, because if that can be considered a ‘clear scoring opportunity’ then so is everything... I think we’d prefer a decision against us and a good performance rather than a decision in our favour and a bad performance, as it shows signs of the team’s improvement.”

The Vidal situation looked comical, as he kicked the turf, but Italian media claim replays show a slight trip to unbalance him beforehand.

“We look forward, see the glass half-full and proved that we belong on this stage. Everyone talked about a Juventus that was a disaster area, but tonight we saw a very good Juventus against one of the top contenders for the Cup,” continued Conte.

“We didn’t get hammered and if anything we threatened to punish Real Madrid. Tonight this team proved it can walk on this stage with the right tactical adjustments and at times played better than Real Madrid.

“I think this is a good boost for us to prepare the push for the final few games.”

In theory, Juventus could qualify even with a defeat to Real Madrid in Turin, as long as they beat both Copenhagen and Galatasaray.

Juve are now third in the group on two points behind Roberto Mancini’s Galatasaray on four.

Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.

FOOTBALL ITALIA RELATED NEWS

TODAY'S FRONT PAGES