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Mar 17, 2013

Juve accused of lacking respect

Bologna boss Stefano Pioli believes Juventus counterpart Antonio Conte "exaggerated" a goal celebration during a 2-0 win on Saturday, accusing the league leaders of showing a lack of respect to their opponents.

• Rzouki: Juve's turnaround

Conte's men opened up a 12-point lead at the top of Serie A at the Stadio Dall'Ara, and the Bianconeri manager rejoiced by pumping his fist toward the stands before blowing a kiss to a television camera. Pioli responded by telling his assistant "you need respect even in victory - certain things shouldn't be done."

He added: "Conte's celebration was a little exaggerated, because it was not just aimed at his own team. In any case, we already talked it over and cleared the air.

"Juve played well and proved they are a great team. We tried to keep up the tempo, but had hoped to create more scoring opportunities and fell away after the break. Juve created little until the goal.

"When I made this decision to play with four attacking players I was confident, but the opening goal took the wind out of our sails. I'd make the same choices again, though. It was a very fiery and intense match. When games are so physical there can be a few extra challenges."

Conte, though, shrugged off the criticism, claiming he should be able to celebrate Juventus' victories as they are "flying" toward their 29th Scudetto.

"If I can't even say anything to our fans and celebrate with them, then tell me what I can do?" said Conte.

"We annoy people when we win, I'm sorry, but I did not lack respect towards anyone. We see so many horrible things, people who throw rocks at team buses or swearing, so what's the problem if I want to celebrate with my fans?

"I won, I am winning another Scudetto and that is meant to be a lack of respect? The kiss towards the camera was a spontaneous gesture aimed towards my daughter.

"Juventus are flying at the moment, but the same thing happened last season. We are achieving important things and must continue. It was a great step forward, we still need to get past the finish line and there are nine games left.

"We deserve to be in this position and will continue while also thinking about the Champions League."

Following the match, Conte was again quizzed about his future, with reports continually linking him with Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid. The 43-year-old was coy in his reply, saying: "Anything can happen. Right now this is a wonderful experience with Juventus. In future I would love to measure myself in a foreign League, but talking about that now is difficult."

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