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Dec 28, 2012

Montella praises Juve boss Conte

Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella says the continual dominance exerted by Juventus over the past 12 months is credit to coach Antonio Conte.

Montella, 38, was reflecting on 2012 in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport and, with the Bianconeri currently eight points clear at the top of the Serie A table, sees no real challenger in sight.

"The anti-Juve does not exist, only the Bianconeri can lose points for themselves," he said. "But if they keep going forward in the Champions League, they will spend a lot of mental energy trying to concentrate on both.

"Their strength however is that they've been able to hold it together without their Coach for so long and that is credit to Antonio Conte. He is a superb man-manager and tactician.

"The work done during the week is the most important, and that's why they did not suffer too much when Conte was suspended. And they've got Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal - two of the best in their position around."

Meanwhile midfielder Claudio Marchisio says Juventus have to win a trophy this season but does not believe the club has the money to sign a big-name striker any time soon.

Marchisio, 26, called on his team-mates to at least match last season's league title win before commenting on the possibility of capturing an expensive goalscorer.

He told newspaper Il Messaggero: "I want 2013 to be at least equal to 2012, we have to raise at least one trophy. Comparisons with Barca are nice but they are exaggerated. The numbers speak for themselves. We are on the start of a path, trying to win playing spectacular but also purposeful football.

"I don't think there's any money for a striker, however, Karim Benzema is someone I liked even before he went to Real Madrid - he reminds me of the first Ronaldo."

The Italian international also commented on Azzurri team-mate Mario Balotelli - linked with a move to Juventus - but insisted that he might not suit life in Turin. "I'd question a move here for Mario as we have rules," he added. "He's a tremendous talent but I'm not sure he will be able to change here."

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