• Serie A

Conte hails 'professional' Tevez

ESPN staff
July 31, 2013
Carlos Tevez has made a positive start to his Juventus career © AP

Juventus coach Antonio Conte has branded Carlos Tevez a "great professional" after spending their first few weeks together.

Speaking in an interview with the Gazzetta dello Sport on his 44th birthday, the Juve coach heaped praise on the Argentinean, whose attitude and work ethic may have come in for criticism at his former clubs Manchester United and Manchester City, but who appears to have struck a chord with Conte.

"He's extraordinary," Conte said. "He's a great professional, a splendid person and always willing. He's working exceptionally well."

Tevez will lead Juventus' assault on a third successive Scudetto alongside fellow new signing Fernando Llorente, who also received Conte's compliments on the eve of their first serious test of pre-season, a friendly against Everton in San Francisco.

"He's a model athlete," he said. "He has the right mentality and it's a pleasure to see him training.

"I've been impressed by all the new signings, but I'm also expecting a lot from our historic group too. It's always a risk that you feel satiated, but all we've got to think about is winning games. Nobody has an excuse, and I've got to be good at sending the right messages to my team like two years ago when we opened this cycle."

Juventus go into the season as overwhelming favourites for a third title in a row and Conte feels his side are ready for the challenge.

With the arrivals of Tevez, Llorente and Angelo Ogbonna, together with "the explosion of [Paul] Pogba", he believes he has an even stronger team than a year ago.

"We tried to understand how we could improve our team and I think we've done it," Conte said. "We needed to increase the competition for places and we've achieved our goal. Compared to Europe's big clubs, we're still catching up and I hope we can catch them.

"Nevertheless, when I arrived at Juve, the plan was to challenge for the title in our third year so we're a bit ahead."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd