Buffon: Conte ban could destabilise Juventus squad

The 34-year-old has dismissed talk that the coach being sanctioned could motivate the Bianconeri squad, but is happy that Simone Pepe and Leonardo Bonucci have been cleared
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has admitted that Antonio Conte's 10-month ban could have an adverse affect on his team-mates.

It was announced on Friday morning that the 43-year-old coach would be forced to miss all of the Bianconeri's title defence after failing to report match-fixing activities to the authorities during his time at Siena.

And the Italy international has dismissed the notion that the trainer's absence will serve to motivate his team ahead of Sunday's Supercoppa Italiana meeting with Napoli.

"When things like this happen, they can destabilise the environment. We Italians like to say it makes you stronger," he told reporters.

"Personally, I do not think that they can help an individual or a team. That said, we are totally relaxed and want to do our duty: win the Supercoppa.

"We come into this from a defeat in the Coppa Italia final, and losing a final is never good. As for the coach, he has the will to fight in his DNA, and also, we are only at the first stage of his judgement."

Two Juventus players, Simone Pepe and Leonardo Bonucci, were cleared of all charges after initially being suspects in the case, and Buffon went on to voice his happiness at his team-mates' being acquitted.

"I am happy for Simone and Leonardo, who are friends of mine. I congratulate them because they have been through this with great courage, while Bonucci, who played sensationally at Euro 2012, has proved that he is a strong man."

Napoli and Juventus kick off at 14:00CET on Saturday in Beijing.