Conte focused on `prestigious` semi spot

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 23:10

Rome: Juventus coach Antonio Conte said all thoughts of a third consecutive Serie A title will be sidelined as his side focus on the "prestigious" feat of becoming Italy`s first Europa League semifinalists in six years. 

Juventus are eight points ahead of Roma in the Serie A title race with six games remaining. 

But a day ahead of hosting Lyon, beaten 1-0 in France last week, the Italian said Juve`s focus was entirely on becoming Italy`s first side in the semifinals since Fiorentina in 2008. 

"We`re here to talk about the Europa League quarterfinal return leg and as far as I`m concerned, the league doesn`t exist today," said Conte. 

"It would be prestigious for Juventus to reach the semis, it`s been (six) years since an Italian team got to that stage." 

The demands of both Serie A and the Europa League have forced Conte to rotate his squad in what is expected to be another title-winning season. 

But the 44-year-old is ready to stake everything on Thursday`s match in Turin. 

"I`ll be looking to select a side that gives us the best chance of qualifying, taking into consideration physical and psychological factors." 

Conte, however, left a question mark over whether Argentinian striker Carlos Tevez, who has suffered from a tendon problem of late, will start. 

Tevez was sidelined during Juve`s 2-0 defeat to Napoli 10 days ago and has been substituted in Juve`s ensuing two games, the 1-0 win at Lyon and last weekend`s 2-0 defeat of Livorno. 

"We`ve looked to manage Carlos`s playing time in this recent period," said Conte. 

"I`ll watch him train tomorrow and speak to him, then make my decision."

AFP

First Published: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 23:10

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