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Apr, 16, 2013

Juve bounce back from Europe woes

Juventus coach Antonio Conte admits his side's 2-0 win over Lazio on Monday helped lift spirits following last week's disappointing Champions League exit against Bayern Munich.

• Blog: Juve wonder 'what if?'

A first-half brace to Arturo Vidal helped Juve open up an 11-point lead atop the Serie A, meaning they need just seven points from the reamining six games to successfully defend their league title.

The Old Lady bounced back from the defeat to Bayern and looked a different side to the one that took to the field in Turin and although Conte refused to concede that Juve cannot be caught at the top, he claims it was a vital win.

"We moved into the top eight in Europe. In Italy we have been in first place for a long time and now we won tonight," he said. "There is nothing to be disappointed about. There are seven points (left to secure) victory, so I don't speak of that. We have to keep pedaling.

"We've got three very important points, another brick closer to the finish line. We have every right to be happy, not depressed."

Conte opted for a conservative formation at the Stadio Olimpico, with Mirko Vucinic being utilised as a lone striker and Claudio Marchisio in behind him.

"It does not matter how many strikers you play with, but the build-up to the manouvere. and how many players contribute to the chances," Conte said..

"I knew I could use Marchisio as the attacking midfielder. He and Vucinic are beautiful together, so I knew it would be fine. Marchsio had an extraordinary game. He was a good help in the passive phase and also at the points when we pushed forward."

Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was also coy on his side's hopes of defending their title but is confident domestic success will offer a reprieve from elimination in the Champions League and Coppa Italia.

"I will not even pronounce the word championship," Buffon said. "(But) I can say that today we have made a big step forward. We had to absorb elimination in the Champions League, which was deserved, but it has still come as a surprise to us.

"There are still seven points to win by the end of the season. If we can achieve this goal, it will be another great accomplishment."

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