Antonio Conte spoke after his side’s loss to Benfica to the Juventus official website. The Bianconeri suffered their first Europa League defeat in this campaign.
“We’re really disappointed with the scoreline, it’s an unfair reflection of the game. We didn’t get off to the best of starts, and we know what can happen if you let Benfica build up a head of steam, but in the second half we had them under the cosh. It seemed like they were going to keel over at any moment but then they pulled something out of the bag. We fell asleep a bit on that second goal.”
“Benfica only had a few counter-attacks. We tried to channel our play down the middle because there were a few gaps to be found there. Markovic was struggling to keep tabs on Asamoah on the wings so I asked the team to spread play out wide. We just needed to be a bit more clinical in front of goal.
“We’re optimistic and confident regardless of how we performed tonight. It wasn’t easy to come here and take the game to them. They played on the break the whole time, while we played a continental style of football, with intensity and a high tempo to our play. It was a good game and we did Italian football proud,” he added, clearly pleased with his charges’ overall display.”
Conte then looked forward to the return leg of the fixture;
“The Benfica fans were incredible. But I know that our own fans are perfectly capable of turning up the heat at the Stadium and propelling us into the final.”