Belarus striker Vitali Kutuzov has revealed he never accused Antonio Conte of match-fixing after it became clear the Juventus boss may have known about a plan by his then, Bari side to lose their final match of the 2008/09 season.
Kutuzov was part of the team which accepted money to be defeated by Salernitana, and he explained that trainer Conte, who has already been found guilty of match-fixing this year, was not aware of the players' plans to perform badly as they chased promotion.
"Conte tried to motivate us until the last moment, until the last game," he told Antenna 3 radio show Lunedi di Rigore.
"He acted like a coach for whom the championship was not finished yet. He made compliments to us, saying 'we win the last game and then can celebrate.'"
The former Sampdoria forward has also explained that his friendship with his former coach has been ruined by the recent allegations and criticised the Italian press for the blame that is being attached to Conte.
He added: "I had a good relationship with Conte and now it's spoiled and do not know how to look him in the face. I can say he is a great coach and a great man, and I would call him and talk to him quietly, but it's difficult to talk to him.
"It's a story created to sell newspapers, it will eventually bring out Mr. Conte even stronger and more determined to never give up. In fact, when he ends his ban, he will not leave the field and will win the championship."