Serie A - Fiery Conte takes the plaudits for another Juve title

Juventus heaped plaudits on fiery coach Antonio Conte for winning a third consecutive Serie A title, having rejuvenated the club after a match-fixing scandal, relegation to the second-tier and failure to qualify for European competition.

Reuters
Serie A - Fiery Conte takes the plaudits for another Juve title
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Juventus coach Antonio Conte (Reuters)

The feisty 44-year-old, who has recently been involved in angry exchanges with former Juve coach Fabio Capello, Italy manager Cesare Prandelli, Roma's Rudi Garcia and Napoli's Rafael Benitez, has transformed Juventus, known as the Old Lady, since he arrived in 2011.

"Conte hammered this mentality into the squad on the first day he arrived, so much of the credit for this Scudetto goes to him as it's an historic occasion," general manager Giuseppe Marotta told Sky Sport Italia.

"It is a victory for everyone, even the invisible team that works in the background. It is a hugely important achievement.

"During the course of a whole championship, the management of the group is the fundamental key to success. On this matter, I regard Conte as a great coach, among the best in the world. He is precious for Juventus and we intend to hold on to him."

Juventus clinched the title on Sunday without kicking a ball as AS Roma, the only side that could challenge them for the crown, lost 4-1 at Catania.

Before Conte appeared on the scene, Juventus were still struggling in the shadow of the match-fixing scandal which led to them being stripped of the 2005 and 2006 titles and relegated to Serie B.

They had limped home seventh for two seasons in a row before his appointment and did not play in European competition in his first season in charge, but are now celebrating their 30th championship after three successive titles.

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said the key moment in the campaign was the 1-0 win at Genoa in March after a trademark Andrea Pirlo free kick secured victory with two minutes remaining.

"We suffered so many scares in that game and Genoa probably deserved more, but we managed to pluck out that Andrea Pirlo free kick from nowhere," he said.

"We knew after that we could push forward and put our hands on the Scudetto.

"Of course, I prefer the satisfaction of winning on the field, that moment the whistle blows and you have given everything you've got, both physical and psychological," he added.

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