Conte receives Trapattoni backing

Juventus coach Antonio Conte received some illustrious backing on the eve of his return to the Turin touchline for a Serie A meeting with Atalanta.

Antonio Conte, Juventus

Conte made an emotional return to the Juventus Stadium for a midweek Coppa Italia victory over Cagliari, but Sunday's game against Atalanta marks the 43-year-old's first home league game since a four-month suspension ended last week.

Giovanni Trapattoni - now in charge of the Republic of Ireland national team - won the Scudetto six times and the European Cup once in a 10-year spell as Juve boss and the veteran tactician is backing Conte to leave a similar legacy at the Piedmont club.

He told the Corriere dello Sport: "Antonio Conte is the most important element of Juve - he knows how to combine good football, a sense of occasion, mental strength and results.

"I don't know if this Juve side can get all the way to the final of the Champions League, there are a lot of experienced teams in there, but the team is becoming stronger and stronger and you can't rule out any results."

There was bad news for Juve this week, though, with on-loan Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner suffering a leg injury that is likely to keep him out of action for two months.

Midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini has been given extra time to recover from gastrointestinal flu while Arturo Vidal nurses a bruised knee.

Atalanta recovered from a three-game losing streak to claim a 2-1 victory over Parma last time out but the Bergamo club have struggled away from home so far.

Federico Peluso has been key player in the Nerazzurri defence for two years but the Italy international revealed how close he had come to sealing a summer switch to Juventus.

He told Tuttosport: "They were some difficult months, with my future in the balance right until the very end, and dealing with the rumours wasn't easy.

"I'll admit that on the evening of August 31 I felt a little bit of regret but the next day I was fine because I'm happy at Atalanta.

"I can't ever be totally sure but I think I was very close to a move.

"I would be a hypocrite if I said that I wouldn't like to play for a big club like Juventus in the future.

"If Atalanta is a Mercedes then Juventus is a Ferrari... having said that, I'm focused on Atalanta and I won't waste my energy thinking about other things."

James Troisi, Davide Biondini and Guido Marilungo will not feature through injury, while Giacomo Bonaventura and Carlos Carmona face late fitness checks.



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