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Conte: Bayern were so much stronger

Juventus coach Antonio Conte admits there is a ‘big gap’ between his side and Bayern Munich after their Champions League exit.

The Serie A leaders were expected to pose problems to Bayern, but a 2-0 loss in Turin on Wednesday saw their European campaign ended as they were beaten 4-0 on aggregate in the quarter-final.

Conte, whose team were league champions last season and top the table by nine points, said the Bundesliga giants were the better side.

“We have a lot of work to do. We already knew that,” he said.

“In any case, I congratulated the players because what we have done in the last 18 months is amazing.

“Nobody likes to lose, but you have to admit it when you face a team that is so much stronger than you.

“They have played two finals in the last three years, so we knew there was a big gap between them and us.”

A 64th-minute Mario Mandzukic goal all but ended Juventus’ hopes of progressing, and Claudio Pizarro added the sealer in additional time.

Conte was full of praise for Bayern, who moved one step closer to a second straight appearance in the Champions League final.

“Bayern are really strong – individually and collectively. They can do wonderful things and they fight for every ball,” he said.

“It’s tough to play against them and we did everything we could. I also have to thank the fans for the support they gave the team tonight.

“We woke up from our dream – now we have to focus on the league again, and fast, because we want to win our second Scudetto in a row, which would be a great achievement.”

There were suggestions Conte could switch from his preferred 3-5-2 formation for the second leg, but he said it would have made no difference.

“We would have had the same problems with any formation – we just have to admit they’re better than us,” he said.

“I don’t think we could have done anything more and the way the fans reacted at the end proves it. Bayern will be one of the best teams in Europe for many years to come.”

Thu 11 April, 2013
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