– The scene is this and goes back a few days ago. Novacare Complex in Philadelphia, 36 ˚ degrees actual, perceived 42 ˚, 70 percent humidity. If you have to train, something akin to hell. Antonio Conte knows that day massacre his players. Then calls them around him and makes a speech which is the manifesto of his understanding of football.
“Today will be tough – are more or less his words – you will want to stop. But you’ll find within yourself the strength to go forward. When the legs will not make more, your head will help. Because with the head you get over every difficulty, with the head you win in 90′, with the head you become stronger”
Players will run for an hour and a quarter in a row, at a preset speed, up and down the field, only a few pauses to drink. No one will stop before Matri except for a sudden illness. Here, the summer training camp of Juve is like the old center of military boot camp. For everybody Cont is “Mister”, not “Antonio”. He commands, players perform. And learn.
In the locker room. The technician is not renovating Juve, the is rebuilding it at complete. The first rule is the group, the common good: who doesn’t like it goes out because otherwise the technician will lose strength. In Bari put out team Salvatore Masiello, one of the leaders, who arrived late to training. Antonio is hard, but willing to change his mind if the field gives him the opportunity. Upon arriving at Bari, Cristian Stellini did not fit into his plans: then became a starter and now is his assistant. The attitude of Conte with players depends on their commitment: If disappointed then attacks them even publicly, if satisfies him then defends them fiercely. After every defeat is angry, almost intractable, and can not stand little involved players or worse with a smile. He does not like those who complain, who complained about the replacements and speak more out of the field.
Even in the dark. Conte does not allow voltage drops even in training: the work is done with maximum intensity. It’s fundamental athletics part and in particular those relating to force, for which the staff has been added to the Spaniard Julio Tous (Barcelona consultant in the past). When you train you do not look at your watch: just landed in Philadelphia Juve went running. It was dark, it was difficult to distinguish the players but for Conte was not a problem and not a novelty: it happened in Bari that the training ended when did not see anything. Great attention is given to diet, the scale can create an exclusion. Compared to the early years on the bench Conte has blunted some angles of his character: is still a malleus, but has learned to give something to the players (on tour has left the option of choosing single or double room accommodation).
The game. From the tactical point of view everything is clear enough: we attack in four and can defend well in six if the central midfielders are blocked and the team is short and organized. The only digression from the 4-2-4 can be seen in the last half hour as the players are tired and assume a midfield at three. Much use of the three substitutions that usually involve the wingers and a striker. The defense ball around must be fast and precise to make sense of the movement and the movement of the four attackers. Juve are now waiting for some news from the transfer market and before any buying Conte informs himself about the player’s work ethic and his desire to train. In a month the season starts. Conte usually does not explain the exclusions, but who wants to can go to ask explanations. Talk to the directors, but goes his own way: with him it is meritocracy and this is appreciated by players. The concept is simple: WINING counts. The rest is zero.
Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport
by: G.B. Olivero
adapted by: Mike Prise