Conte playing up "extraordinary" Juventus achievement

Antonio Conte believes should Juventus win this season's scudetto crown it would be as great a shock as when Verona won the 1985 Serie A title.

Updated: May 02, 2012 10:22 IST
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Antonio Conte believes should Juventus win this season's scudetto crown it would be as great a shock as when Verona won the 1985 Serie A title.

Verona won their one and only title in in the 1984/85 campaign in what remains one of the biggest shocks in Italian football history.

Sceptics will point to the fact that the surprising final table, which also saw Torino and Sampdoria finish in the top four, happened in the only season in which referees were assigned to matches after a random draw.

In all other seasons they have been picked by a special commission of referees.

That contributed to the 2006 Calciopoli match-fixing scandal in which teams, notably Juve, were found to have been requesting specific 'friendly' officials for their matches.

Regardless of such unsavoury incidents perhaps providing an advantage to the traditional giants Juve, AC Milan and Inter Milan, Verona's success was nevertheless stunning.

Conte believes his own big-spending team's achievement would be just as remarkable, given they finished seventh in the previous two seasons.

"If it should happen that we win the title it would be comparable to that of Verona, super-straordinary," said Conte.

"We have to keep in mind where we've come from."

While most people would consider Juve's previous two seasons -- which came after third and second placed finishes -- to be the epitome of under-achievement, Conte seems convinced he is coaching a minnow rather than the most successful team in Italian football.

Juventus have also spent heavily since returning to Serie A following their relegation in 2006 for their part in Calciopoli.

Conte also insists that his side face tough opponents in their run-in, starting with third-bottom Lecce on Wednesday.

"There are still three games to go, we've played and will play teams with a lot of motivation, and that's the way it should be," he said.

"Lecce are fighting for an important objective, which is survival, while we're going for the title, it will be a good match.

"We have nothing in hand, other than qualification for the Champions League, which is a fundamental objective.

"Now we have to keep going, give our maximum."

Juve can claim the title on Wednesday if they win and Milan lose at home to Atalanta.

And Conte refused to be drawn back to the ongoing debate about a clear goal scored by Milan's Sulley Muntari against The Old Lady of Turin when the sides met back in February, that wasn't validated.

Had the goal been given -- which would have allowed Milan to take a two-goal lead in the game which finished 1-1 -- the two sides would now be level on points, instead of Juve leading by three.

"I'm not getting involved in this spiral, if (Milan coach Massimilian) Allegri continues to discuss this incident then that's his problem," said Conte.

"I'll wait for the end of the season to say what I think but already I can give you a little hint.

"People talk about Juve-Milan as the crux to the season but don't forget that before we played Fiorentina (three games later) we were seven points behind (with a game in hand).

"Now we're in front, we haven't let up, they stopped."

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