Antonio Conte has told Juventus to show no fear as they bid to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit against SL Benfica, whose coach Jorge Jesus wants his side to remain true to their principles in Turin.
Goals from Ezequiel Garay and Lima last week gave the Portuguese side a narrow lead to take to the Juventus Stadium, although Carlos Tévez's goal gives Juventus every chance of reaching the 14 May final at their own ground. "We don't know the word fear," said Conte. "We know the word respect, but not fear. We deserve to be in the semi-finals so it's a great moment for us and we're enjoying it. Our fans deserve it after almost 11 years in which they have seen other sides reaching finals. We have great respect for Benfica, but we don't know fear, and I won't allow anybody to even contemplate having it."
Three-time winners of the UEFA Cup, Juventus have not reached the final of the competition since losing to Parma FC in 1995, and Conte is confident his side can end that run. "
The next game is always the most important in your life. The idea is always to play your best game, no matter what the stakes are. The aim is always the same: to win.
"Given how we played in the first leg, I don't think we deserved to lose," Conte added. "Ties like these are played over two legs and we know what we have to do. With that in mind, I'm very confident, knowing we'll have the Juventus Stadium behind us, and they will take to the field with us."
Aside from the injured Sílvio (broken leg) and Lujbomir Fejsa (muscular problems) and suspended midfielder André Gomes, Jesus has a full squad at his disposal, which could even include Eduardo Salvio. Ten days after breaking a bone in his left forearm and being ruled out for the rest of the season, the Argentina winger could return wearing a special protective cast – although this game might prove too early.
"The most important thing is that we focus on this game," Jesus said. "Whether we play an attacking style and look to score will depend on how the game evolves and not necessarily on our strategy.
We know it's going to be a difficult game; we have an advantage having won the first leg, but it's important we remain true to what Benfica stand for. We are up against a great side in Juventus, but we play against them like we would play against anybody else."
Jesus singled out Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal as "players who can make the difference" for Juve, although he knows it is going forward where the game could be won and lost. "We believe we have to score because qualification could depend on that," he explained. "We've got some technically strong players and we have the option of playing an attacking game, but Juve know how strong our attack is. As far as the defence is concerned, we're up against a style of play that we're not so used to in Portugal so we've got to think of ways to stop their attack."
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