Conte urges exhausted players to push through pain
His injury-plagued Juventus team desperately need a rest but head coach Antonio Conte is urging his players to keep pushing through the pain barrier.
The Bianconeri took another huge step towards retaining the Serie A title by ending Parma’s 17-match unbeaten run with a 2-1 victory at the Juventus Stadium on Wednesday night.
Eighteen-goal Carlos Tevez scored twice – Cristian Molinaro replied for Parma – and will now get to put his feet up having activated a suspension for Sunday’s game at Napoli by earning a yellow card.
His exhausted teammates will not be so lucky, however, as Conte plans to stick with an unchanged starting XI given his current lack of alternative options.
He told juventus.com: "It was an important victory against a team who came into the game on the back of a 17-match unbeaten streak. Parma reiterated how strong they are tonight, you don’t string together that kind of run by chance.
"I’m running out of words of praise for these lads, eight out of 11 are on their fifth consecutive game. Some need to take a breather, but they can’t – this is the worst injury situation I’ve had since I’ve been here."
Conte’s principal area of concern is the backline, where he is missing Angelo Ogbonna, Federico Peluso and Andrea Barzagli while the season is already over for midfielder Simone Pepe.
A Europa League quarterfinal meeting with Lyon – the first leg takes place next Thursday – will put extra strain on his threadbare squad.
"We’ll try and get as many players back in order to wrap up what has been an extraordinary league season up until now and to try to make progress in the Europa League," the coach added. "It’s the second year running that we’re the only Italian representative in the hunt for a European trophy.
"We want to continue our journey, but first we’ll think about Sunday against Napoli."