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Conte satisfied after 'strong' display in Napoli draw

The Italian tactician was happy with his side's performance but lamented his team's inability not to take advantage of their impressive first-half display

Juventus coach Antonio Conte was left satisfied with his team's showing against Napoli but believes the side could have built on their first-half showing.

The top two teams in Italy shared the spoils after a 1-1 draw and while content, Conte was regretful of how his side were unable to take advantage after dominating the opening period.

“Considering the first half, we could taste the victory and the chance to put Napoli further behind,” Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

“It didn’t happen, but we put in a strong performance in terms of character despite a very fiery atmosphere. I compliment the players on keeping their heads in this stadium.

“We did well not to lose our calm and stay in the game at all times. There are 11 rounds to go and it’s all open, so we have to keep pedalling at full pace to stay out in front.

“The Scudetto is far away on a mathematical level, as we are six points in front – which is a good advantage – but there are another 33 available. Don’t forget we still have to play Milan, Inter and the revelation Catania.

“We must always be gritty, determined and motivated to get the points, because every match is difficult and a surprise is always around the corner.

“There is no more time for fun and games or slip-ups. If we do well, then we’ll get there, but if we don’t then it’s only right that someone else finishes first. That’s why we have to keep our heads down.”

Conte also hinted that the commitment of playing in the Champions League has taken its toll on his players while looking ahead to next week's round of 16 second-leg tie with Celtic, and says he is not taking anything for granted. 

“This season the Champions League has to be taken into account and it takes away energy, both physical and psychological. I appealed to the team to stay on point, as we need everyone from here to the end,” he continued. 

“Winning the Scudetto would be a huge achievement. We’re 3-0 up in the first leg against Celtic, but I’m nowhere near relaxed. Until the referee blows the final whistle, I will not relax.

“While the game is open, you still give your opponents the sensation they can turn it around. We had several chances to finish it off and going 2-0 up would’ve been a heavy psychological blow for Napoli."

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