Conte braced for Lazio backlash

Juventus head coach Antonio Conte is bracing himself for a backlash as Lazio arrive in Turin on a revenge mission.

Antonio Conte; Carlos Tevez; Mirko Vucinic

The Biancocelesti suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat at their own Stadio Olimpico base in a curtain-raising Supercoppa meeting two weeks ago.

But while reigning Serie A champions Juve laboured to a 1-0 win at Sampdoria on the opening weekend, Lazio showed they were made of stronger stuff by beating Udinese 2-1.

Conte is under no illusions that the capital club will be determined to right recent wrongs while potentially pulling three points clear with victory at the Juventus Stadium.

The Bianconeri boss told juventus.com: "It will be a test for the heart and the head before it is a test for our legs.

"The Supercoppa defeat will give them something extra and tomorrow will be completely different game.

"We picked up a trophy in Rome and we're happy to have done so but there's less difference between us and them than the scoreline suggested.

"Lazio will fight for the top spots and they always do, it will be the same tomorrow.

"They will make things difficult for us but we want to do the same to them."

Conte also bemoaned the fact striker Alessandro Matri had been sold to AC Milan due to a lack of funds in northern Turin.

He added: "With a few exceptions, including Napoli, clubs have to sell before they can buy and we have to make back the 20million euros we spent on (Carlos) Tevez, (Fernando) Llorente and (Angelo) Ogbonna.

"I'm not worried about this situation, even if it is obvious that I don't like having to sell players to buy others.

"But we are forced to do so and that's why coaches go cap in hand to their clubs."

Biancocelesti boss Vladimir Petkovic also believes his players' performance in the Supercoppa was not a true reflection of their true ability, especially considering the fact Udinese were beaten at the same stadium a week later.

"We weren't in peak condition, but we're developing as we displayed against Udinese," he told reporters.

"Now we want to pick up some points in Turin and we need to play as we did in the first half last weekend.

"We must not be in a rush to score, what we need to do is play with quality and awareness, giving as good as we get and looking to make the most of every opportunity that comes our way."

Despite recent experiences the Bosnian does not believe Juve are a cut above their rivals in the new campaign, while conceding their desire to win make them a tough proposition.

He added: "The gap isn't that wide, but Juventus are used to winning. They've shown they have more hunger, that's their characteristic.

"But we're a top side ourselves, our players have plenty of character and tomorrow they'll give everything to get a result."



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