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Conte ready for ´intense´ week

SoccerNews in Serie A 27 Apr 2014

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Antonio Conte is relishing an “intense” week as Juventus look to move closer to the Serie A title and UEFA Europa League final.

Juve face Sassuolo on Monday knowing a win will move them eight points clear with three games remaining in Serie A, while Thursday’s home clash with Benfica provides the opportunity to reach a European final.

The Portuguese side hold a 2-1 lead going into the second leg but, with an away goal and a 27-match unbeaten home run behind them, Conte’s side have a good chance of reaching the final, which will be held at the Juventus Stadium.

Conte admitted maintaining momentum on two fronts had been tough, but praised the way his squad have adapted to the challenge.

“Perhaps more than intense it is exciting,” said the head coach. “The first year we weren’t in Europe, last season we went out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals and this term we’re going forward in the Europa League.

“It’s the first time we have been challenging on two fronts to the end of the campaign.

“It is tough and tiring, but very exciting and this scenario has to become habitual for Juventus.

“In just three years we managed to take Juventus to compete for more than one trophy to the end, which was another of our objectives when beginning this adventure.”

However, Conte expects a tough challenge against strugglers Sassuolo who are battling to preserve their top-flight status, currently sitting above the drop zone on goal difference.

“This is an important game, a fundamental one, as a victory would put our hands on the Scudetto,” he added.

“We know it’s not easy, as Sassuolo are fighting for safety, so we’ll need to be very wary, but go there to achieve our primary objective, which I repeat is the Scudetto.”

Conte expects to have Arturo Vidal back after a knee problem, although he may not risk him in the league, while Andrea Barzagli is a doubt with a calf injury.

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