Conte changes his tune after Juve hold Real

Wed Nov 6, 2013 3:37am EST
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By Brian Homewood

(Reuters) - Juventus coach Antonio Conte, who last season complained that his club did not have the financial resources to compete with Europe's elite, changed his tune after Tuesday's 2-2 draw at home to Real Madrid.

The 44-year-old said that money was not everything after his team more than held their own against the big-spending Spaniards and added that they could compete with the best - provided they could leap from the bottom of Group B to second place in their final two games.

The 100 million euros ($134.75 million) Real spent on Gareth Bale alone was three times more than Juve's entire outlay of just over 31.7 million euros during the summer transfer window. Defender Angelo Ogbonno was Juve's biggest purchase at around 13 million euros.

"The transfer dealings weren't particularly evident," Conte told reporters. "We showed that what happens on the pitch counts more than spending power.

"We came away from this game stronger and the team deserves a high rating," he added.

"We played a perfect first half in terms of our organization, intensity and quality of play. It was inevitable the tempo would drop following the restart and when it happens against champions like Real's you're made to pay.

"However, there was a great desire to turn things around and I would have (Real goalkeeper) Iker Casillas down as the man-of-the-match.

"I liked our bold approach in taking the game to Real. Our Champions League journey needs to see us develop and today we've witnessed many situations we need to work on."   Continued...

Juventus' coach Antonio Conte acknowledges the crowd before the Italian Serie A soccer match against Catania at the Juventus stadium in Turin October 30, 2013. REUTERS/Giorgio Perottino