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Conte: Napoli clash not crucial

Juventus coach Antonio Conte has played down the importance of his side’s clash against Napoli in the Serie A on Friday.

Juventus coach Antonio Conte has played down the importance of his side’s clash against Napoli in the Serie A on Friday.

The top-of-the-table clash at the Stadio San Paolo shapes as a crucial one in the title race, with Juve sitting six points clear of their nearest rivals.

Conte said the encounter was just like any other match this season, dismissing suggestions it was a title decider.

“We’re preparing to face an important match, but it will be as important as the forthcoming matches against AC Milan, Inter Milan and Lazio,” he said on Thursday.

“Tomorrow’s match is one of the matches we’ll have to face from now until the end of the championship in order to reach the final objective. We’re calm from this point of view.

“Tomorrow’s match is like any other match. The championship won’t end tomorrow if we win, or if we draw, and I don’t want to name the third case.

“There are still 11 matches to be played and each one is important because every match can assign three points.”

The meeting with Napoli marks the start of a tough run of fixtures for Juventus, who face Celtic in the Champions League on Wednesday and Catania on the Sunday.

Conte said he was happy to be alive in so many competitions, insisting he would have it no other way.

“Last year we had more time to prepare for every match, but we prefer this year’s situation,” he said.

“We’re present in three competitions. We made it to the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia and now we’re still competing in the Champions League and battling for the Scudetto, so this is a great situation to be in.

“But we are aware that this means more difficulties for us.”

Conte also played down the controversy surrounding the appointment of referee Daniele Orsato, who has shown five red cards in his past eight matches, for the clash against Napoli.

“It’s not nice to talk about referees. It’s a shame that people always find something to stir up controversy,” he said.

“We have faith in the referees, we know that they can make mistakes and you can get angry with them as we have in the past. I have and paid for it, but it is ugly to start insinuating things.”
Thu 28 Feb, 2013
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