In the usual pre-game presser ahead of the Bologna clash, Conte discussed the upcoming game, the renewals, Pogba and his position and the fine to the club.
Your philosophy has always been: the next game is ‘the game of our life’. I wanted to understand if that’s still the case or we can expect some turnover, as the next one is a little more ‘the game of our life’, sportingly and financially…
It’s inevitable that the game against Bologna will be difficult, against a team that is healthy, they are doing well, we expect a tough, difficult game, so we’ll have to go there with a clear head, thinking only about the game against Bologna. We always reasoned in this way, we must not change that. That said, I’ll try to field the lineup I think is more suitable in this particular moment, always with only one goal: to be better than the opponents and win the game.
What is the situation of the banged up players? Are you thinking about giving Lichtsteiner some playing time ahead of Istanbul?
Lichsteiner is a player that is recovering, he’s searching for the top form, with 30-minute appearances, with specific training sessions. We are trying to get him on top form: then when he plays, he can stay on the field for 95 minutes with no problems. He’s training, he’s having these pills of trainings, matches, like against Udinese. I hope and I’m sure that he’ll be available to play from the start in very little time.
The renewal of Vidal is an important news, you are working on Pogba and will work for Pirlo. But has the architect of all this, Antonio Conte, already renewed? Will he renew soon?
I think sincerely that in this moment that’s not an important matter, nor for me or for Juventus, we are so focused on this particular moment of the season where we’ll have to pull off an exploit at Istanbul takes everything takes a back seat. I’m happy for the guys that are renewing, because they have deserved what they are getting.
Pogba yesterday won the Golden Boy award. Do you feel that it belongs to you too? Is Pogba the favorite to play in Pirlo’s role tomorrow?
I’m very happy that Pogba received this award. But I’m more happy that he spoke in that way, saying that he won’t settle for that prize and will aim at something more prestigious. This must not be seen as act of conceit by this kid, but as a display of confidence in his skills. From there he has too keep improving, the road to become one of the best player in the word is long. In this road there is a lot of work, a lot of teachings. And there must be the right mentality, the one he had until now, because let’s not forget that he arrived from Manchester where he played for the U-21 team and was seeing the first team with the binoculars. In one year and a half, he improved in an exciting way, in an important way, so the credit goes to him that made himself available. We take part of the credit too: the coaching staff, the society that believed in him and me, I had the opportunity to work to try to improve this kid. As I always say, it’s up to him to be willing to keep growing. He has all the potentialities to do so, the important thing is to keep your head down and run. In the moment when you are at half way and you raise your head to watch, maybe somebody will overtake you.
I wanted a comment on the fine for the chants by the kids.
I think we need to separate things. There are rules that need to be respected and then there is obstinacy. I think that what happened was obstinacy. When you speak about some topics, like the one of the kids, it’s easy to make demagogy, rhetoric. As a father, I’ve been saying this for some time, we need to improve the football word. I’m referring to all the elements, to not only who goes on the pitch or who sits on the bench. Everybody, the media too, needs to send positive messages. I hope that the next time against Sassuolo, instead of saying that dirty word, maybe they’ll yell “bravo” at every goal kick by the goalkeeper. It would be a small step forward and we wouldn’t fall in the rhetoric. Doing rhetoric and demagogy in these situations is so easy that you can do it very well.
Lately Llorente and Tevez have always been the starters. Will the same happen at Bologna or will there be some turnover as Quagliarella and Vucinic are fine?
Let’s see, I’m not here to give away the lineup, so I make my choices, you’ll see them tomorrow. The choices will depend on the physical condition of the players, on my ideas, on what I have in mind as we are facing a particular moment, on the many games that await us and that we played in seven days. I’ll make some choices, I hope they’ll be good choices and I’m sure the team I will field will give great answers.
I repeat the question because you didn’t answer: is Pogba destined to fill Pirlo’s shoes in this moment.
Paul surely can play in that role and can do well there. Naturally, for me, he’s a box-to-box midfielder, he can express all his skills in that role. But if it’s needed you can work on Pogba as deep-lying midfielder, I’m convinced he can do very well. We’ll try, it will depend on the match, on the opponent, on some tactical situation, we’ll see if it’s more needed him or Vidal in front of the defense. Or maybe also Marchisio might be more needed there. I have three versatile players that can cover every position.