Conte: Juventus is surely the favorite

Ahead of the club's opening game with Sampdoria, the Italian boss insists its back-to-back Scudetto wins make it the team to beat this season but has issued a warning to his side

Antonio Conte believes Juventus is favorite to win Serie A again this season but, with clubs strengthening elsewhere, it will not be a formality.

Conte's side secured its second consecutive title last term, and the close-season arrivals of Angelo Ogbonna, Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez have reinforced belief at Juventus Stadium that a hat trick is possible.

"Juventus are surely the favorite team of this year's championship," Conte told reporters. "It was the same last year because we had won the Scudetto the year before. Last season we proved on the pitch that we were the strongest team of the championship.

"This year we are the favorites again because of our recent victories, but I have to say that the favorites  don't always win."

Other sides in Serie A have also bolstered their squads with Napoli and Fiorentina bringing in some marquee signings of their own such as Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Gomez, respectively.

And Conte appreciates the increased difficulty of winning the Italian top flight this season.

He added: "I believe this year is going to be very tough because many teams will be competing for first place. Many teams have strengthened their squad spending much more money compared to Juventus."

The Bianconeri have been given a difficult opener against Sampdoria, who took all six points off Conte's side in the league last season. 

The former midfielder is anticipating another tough match when they meet on Saturday, but is backing his players to rise to the challenge, though, they will be without Claudio Marchisio who has a knee injury.

"Last year we were defeated in both matches against Sampdoria, therefore I hope that we'll have the chance to win for the first time tomorrow," he added.

"We'll be playing against a great team made of young players and trained by an excellent coach, Delio Rossi, whom I consider a master. "The match is going to be tough from the tactical point of view. We'll surely be finding difficulties, but we're working on them. Of course we want to start in the best possible way.

"We're facing a team that will be playing with great enthusiasm because the stadium will surely be full tomorrow. I trust my guys and their willingness to hold the first position of the table."