Conte: Game affected by ref

Antonio Conte mused on how the match official ‘certainly affected’ Juventus’ 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid with ‘some very, very dubious decisions’.

The Bianconeri went down to Cristiano Ronaldo’s first-half double, but with the Italians protesting the award of a penalty for Madrid’s second of the night, and then Giorgio Chiellini’s early second-half red card for a professional foul on Ronaldo running towards the penalty area.

“This game was certainly affected by some very, very dubious decisions, such as the Chiellini red card and a penalty on Arturo Vidal,” mused Conte post-match to Sky Sport Italia.

“There was absolutely not an elbow, but I still have to laugh, because if that can be considered a ‘clear scoring opportunity’ then so is everything…

“I think we’d prefer a decision against us and a good performance rather than a decision in our favour and a bad performance, as it shows signs of the team’s improvement.

“We look forward, see the glass half-full and proved that we belong on this stage. Everyone talked about a Juventus that was a disaster area, but tonight we saw a very good Juventus against one of the top contenders for the Cup,” continued Conte.

“We didn’t get hammered and if anything we threatened to punish Real Madrid. Tonight this team proved it can walk on this stage with the right tactical adjustments and at times played better than Real Madrid.

“I think this is a good boost for us to prepare the push for the final few games.”

Conte notably changed tactics for the Bianconeri for this match, dropping the usual 3-5-2 for a back-line of four defenders.

“Juventus were changed, but on a system that this team knows very well, as for a while we played with 4-3-3.

“I always said this side can play 4-3-3. We used Claudio Marchisio on the right flank and tried to bring more solidity in defence with Martin Caceres, as we knew Real could be dangerous on the counter.

“Juventus were aggressive against Real Madrid. When you attack Real, you have to be aggressive and focused, as otherwise you lose possession and leave open space to people like Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria. It’s an open invitation to a hammering.

“I think Real had a great deal of difficulty this evening. It is a painful match, but also lets us realise 10 against 11 we can still call on great organisation, heart and grit.”

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