Conte hits back at Totti: Claims of refereeing bias 'a joke'

The Roma captain stated earlier in the week that the Serie A champions benefit from favourable decisions from match officials, much to the annoyance of the Bianconeri boss
Antonio Conte has angrily dismissed Francesco Totti's claims that Juventus receive preferential treatment from referees as "a joke".

The Roma captain caused controversy in the build-up to Sunday's top-of-the-table clash between the two sides in Turin by stating that the Bianconeri regularly receive a helping hand from officials.

However, a clearly irritated Conte says that Totti's allegations are not even worthy of a response.

"I take it as a joke," he told reporters on Saturday. "Just like when the fans are chatting in a bar.

"There are no answers to be given to those who make these claims.

"The only thing I teach is to always respond on the field. That's what justice is given to everything and everyone.

"In the last two years, we have shown ourselves to be the strongest team [in the league], at times in a sensational manner."

Indeed, Conte implied that his players will let their feet do their talking when they host Roma at Juventus Stadium.

"There will be two strong squads on the pitch; the wind will carry away the words," he declared.

"Then, you will see on the field who has adopted the winning strategy. All of the chat counts for nothing; it serves only to heighten controversy.

"It seems to me that football today in Italy is about controversy - and nothing to do with [what happens on] the pitch."

Conte revealed that he could be without a trio of key players for the game against the second-placed Giallorossi but that he has the utmost faith in the strength of his squad.

"I have worries over [Andrea] Pirlo, [Andrea] Brazagli and [Carlos] Tevez," he explained. "I will evaluate the situation with them.

"But I'm not worried. I have a great group available to me."

Juventus will move eight points clear at the summit of the Serie A standings should they defeat their principal title rivals.