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Mar 29, 2013

Conte urges league focus for Juve

Juventus coach Antonio Conte has called for focus from his team as they prepare for a vital double-header against Inter Milan and Bayern Munich.

Juve first face Inter at the San Siro on Saturday as they look to build on their nine-point advantage at the top of Serie A. Three days later the Bianconeri travel to Munich for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash against Bayern.

While it could be easy for his players to get distracted by the European tie, Conte insists his side will only be concerned about securing all three points at the weekend.

"Those who know me well are aware that the next game - in this case Saturday's clash with Inter - is always the most important. We've got a fixed target of reclaiming our Scudetto title and we can't afford any slip-ups in such matches," he told the club's official website.

"Inter have already shown that they're capable of beating anyone in a one-off encounter. They have players with charisma and personality, such as [Javier] Zanetti. He's the one player I'd take from them, he's the heart and soul of the team and I would have liked to have coached him. Both sides will be playing for the three points, a draw doesn't suit either of us. It will be an open game."

The Inter clash is the first of what could prove to be defining set of fixtures leading up until the end of the season for the club as Juve look to retain their Serie A title as well as claim their first Champions League since 1996.

And Conte says he will be using the experiences he picked up during his playing days to help inspire his players.

"I've spoken to the lads about the importance of the moment. We've had a look at the fixture list, which sees us tackle six stimulating games in 21 days. We're in the hunt for something important: winning the championship and keeping our Champions League dream alive," he said.

"We deserve to be where we are, but it's a new situation for us and we must do well to deal with it effectively. I know from experience that if you try to calculate results then you run the risk of getting things wrong. You have to think about one game at a time. I'm referring to my playing days, when I both won and lost championships, even when there was a significant gap at the top."

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