Conte despairs of Milan squad strength

Barnaby Chesterman
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Juventus remain four points behind league leaders Milan after a 2-0 win over Inter

Juventus players celebrate after beating Inter Milan 2-0 on Sunday in Serie A to keep the heat on leaders AC Milan

Antonio Conte admitted he feels powerless to stop AC Milan's charge to a second straight Serie A title despite his Juventus side beating Inter Milan in convincing fashion.

Juve remain four points behind league leaders Milan after a 2-0 win over Inter on Sunday.

But Conte admitted that Milan seem to have something extra as despite a host of injuries they still managed to come from behind and overcome Roma 2-1 the day before.

And unless Milan slip up somewhere down the line, Conte believes second place is all he can hope for despite his side being unbeaten in 33 matches in all competitions this season.

"I've never bluffed to put pressure on others, Milan have a squad of 34-35 players and are clearly better than the rest," said Conte.

"They're proving it because despite all these injuries, the latest being that of Thiago Silva, they've maintained this incredible rhythm in the league.

"We need to keep doing what we're doing, we're unbeaten and that's great, it's a great satisfaction and we'll give our best because we're still in two competitions.

"In the first, the Cup, we've achieved the maximum by getting to the final.

"In the league we'll try to secure second place, which in itself would be fantastic.

"But we'll keep an eye open because if Milan do slip up we've got to capitalise."

Alessandro Del Piero was the hero on Sunday, coming off the bench to score the crucial, killer second goal.

And Conte paid tribute to his club captain, who has quietly accepted a peripheral role this season.

"I'm very happy for him because I know how much it means to him and how much he means to Juve.

"This was the most important game of the season and we needed his personality, experience, charisma and quality."

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was arguably Juve's most vital player in the first half in which he made a number of important stops, denying Diego Milito twice and both Joel Obi and Dejan Stankovic.

But he too praised his captain's influence.

"I'm delighted for him, he's a great player," said Buffon."This year he's shown great professionalism, without making any problems he's accepted this role and is repaying the coach and his team-mates whenever he's called to the cause."Buffon humbly played down his own contribution.

"As for me I'm in goal to make saves and I'm paid discretely to do so, so everything's normal," he said.

Inter coach Claudio Ranieri saw things differently, though.

And he admitted he was disappointed that once again poor attention to detail had cost his team, with Martin Caceres left unmarked eight yards out to head home the opener from a corner.

"Buffon was the best player. Obviously I'm bitter because it was a good game, vibrant, we created a lot against a Juve side who deserve to be where they are," said Ranieri.

"We need to fight. Of course winning here would have given us a big push but unfortunately this year we're not managing to take the right train."

Ranieri insisted he was happy with the way his team is playing despite having won only one of their last 10 in the league.

"Until the goal we played really well, we were fluid, sparkling, great but Buffon was great," he added.

"Unfortunately this year, too often we've conceded a goal from our own mistake rather than the other team's good play.

"We played good football, there was conviction, fluidity, there was everything."