Antonio Conte hopes the Bianconeri can push on from last night’s sensational victory over Chelsea by sealing qualification for the Champions League knockout stages in December’s away trip to Shakhtar.
Speaking to gathered journalists following the unveiling of Corso Gaetano Scirea outside Juventus Stadium, Conte said: “We hope our best game is yet to come. I’m happy for the lads, because sometimes they’ve been on the receiving end of too much criticism. Yesterday’s win was a deserved success, which came alongside a fine performance.
“We applied our philosophy of play which we have been developing for over a year: respect everyone, fear no-one and the awareness that our strengths enable us to give it a go against anyone. Having said that, we still haven’t qualified for the next round, even if we took a significant step last night. Now we have to continue down this route.”
The 3-0 defeat of the reigning European champions spelled the end of the road for Roberto Di Matteo as Chelsea manager, prompting Conte to express sympathy for his opposite number.
“I’m sorry for Roberto, who is a friend of mine. But last season he had the great satisfaction of winning the Champions League. Unfortunately football is like that, it doesn’t wait.”
With the Bianconeri back to their effervescent best on both domestic and European fronts, Conte outlined the importance of Juventus cementing their position among the Champions League’s finest.
“First we’ll think about getting through to the knockout stages, an important step to consolidate ourselves on the European stage, from an economic point of view and also for Italy. We hope both us and Milan go through, in order to improve the ranking.
“We need to improve and continue to grow, because there’s too much of a divide between the Italian game and football in other countries. With teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Paris Saint Germain, Bayern Munich or Chelsea, there’s no contest on an economic level, but we have ideas, organization, heart and legs – and these were all out in force yesterday.”
The tests continue to come thick and fast for Juventus, with a tricky trip to the San Siro next up on Sunday evening.
“We’ll face an important game on Sunday, against a Milan side who aren’t currently challenging at the top, but still have a squad brimming with quality. We’re top of the league, but let’s remember that we still haven’t achieved anything and still have qualification to secure in the Champions League.”