AC Milan revenge not on Conte's mind

Revenge is a secondary factor for coach Antonio Conte as Juventus attempt to close in on the Serie A title with victory over AC Milan.


The Rossoneri claimed a 1-0 victory at the San Siro in November to briefly knock the reigning champions off their stride, but Conte's men have rallied to lead second-placed Napoli by 11 points ahead of the six-game run-in.

There is no love lost between Milan and Turin but Conte concedes Sunday's opponents deserved to win the last encounter - one decided by a Robinho penalty - while remarking on the visitors' impressive revival under Massimiliano Allegri.

He told "The first meeting was a strange game. They weren't in good form but produced a gritty display.

"We woke up too late to repair the damage and deserved to lose. I believe that game represented the turning point of Milan's season.

"They are a strong side and will want to demonstrate their quality.

"I've read that we'd like to consign Milan to a third-placed finish. That's complete nonsense, you must not look at what others are doing.

"There's just one motivation here - winning three points to bring us closer to the Scudetto."

Arsenal loanee Nicklas Bendtner has an outside chance of being involved after recovering from a leg injury but fellow forwards Nicolas Anelka and Sebastian Giovinco join midfielder Simone Pepe on the sidelines.

In the Milan camp, midfielder Nigel De Jong has returned to light training but Mario Balotelli remains unavailable after his three-match ban was reduced by just one game.

The Italy striker will return against Catania and cancelled his scheduled trip to New York to attend a Time Magazine gala in order to keep training at Milanello.

Rossoneri boss Allegri told "It was Mario's choice and I think it shows his professionalism.

"He thought it was important to stay here and train. He's a target for the media and whatever he does creates news. But so far, you can't say anything about him."

Referring to Sunday's game, he added: "Over the last 24 matches we've earned the same number of points but what counts is the entire season and we started badly.

"Juve are now the best team in the league but next season we start from zero. As things stand, though, Juventus have something extra compared to us.

"They play aggressive football with fantastic technique and organisation.

"They need the points to get to the title as quickly as possible while we need the points to keep distance between ourselves and Fiorentina and to stay in touch with Napoli.

"But whatever happens tomorrow [Sunday], there are still another 15 points up for grabs."

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