Chiellini is not a dirty player, insists Conte

The Juventus coach has defended his centre-back in light of recent criticism the Italy international has received, and singled out Antonio Cassano as Parma's biggest threat
Juventus coach Antonio Conte has backed defender Giorgio Chiellini in the wake of the Scudetto holders' 4-0 win over Catania in midweek.

The Italy international was subjected to heavy criticism after a hard tackle on Gonzalo Bergessio on Wednesday, which he has since publicly apologised via Twitter. He was also sent off in Juve's encounter with Real Madrid in the Champions League on matchday three.

However, Conte has stressed that Chiellini is not an unfair player.

"There's a difference between being hard and being unfair. Giorgio is the type of defender who attackers want to avoid because he's hard in the duels, yet also humble," he said at a press conference.

"He's a human being, though, and can make mistakes. He is one of the best defenders in the world and I will not accept it that people accuse him of being unfair.

"Everybody who knows him knows that he has important values. He went for the ball, but hit Bergessio instead. It was an accident, though. Those who say anything else should look at the images again."

Conte then went on to discuss the upcoming Serie A match against Parma and singled out Antonio Cassano as their main danger man.

"Parma are a lot stronger than they were last year. They now have Cassano, who is a great player. He wants to play for the national team again and will do his utmost to show what he can do," he said.

"He is a very dangerous player, just like Amauri, [Jonathan] Biabiany and [Marco] Parolo."