Conte: Italian referees are the best

The Juventus trainer has defended Serie A arbiters in the wake of recent criticism and believes they deserve more respect
Juventus coach Antonio Conte feels Italian referees are arguably the best in the world and deserve to be treated with respect.

The 44-year-old made headlines for all the wrong reasons last season when he heavily criticised Marco Guida in the aftermath of his side's 1-1 draw against Genoa, while Fiorentina's Borja Valero, who received a four-match ban, accused Andrea Gervasoni of lying in his referee report this week.

However, Conte has stressed that he has changed his attitude towards officials.

"I didn't like what happened last year, when I said some strong words towards the referee after Juventus-Genoa. In my opinion, we deserved a penalty kick in the 94th minute, but it wasn't given," he was quoted as saying by La Repubblica.

"I made a big mistake to behave like that, though. I have apologised and changed my attitude towards referees. I prefer to talk about football.

"Our referees are the best in the world and we have to respect what they do, and also respect president [Marcelo] Nicchi and refereeing designator [Stefano] Braschi."

Juventus are currently preparing for the second leg of their Europa League round of 32 tie against Trabzonspor on Thursday. They recorded a 2-0 win at home in the reverse fixture.