Antonio Conte has conceded his Juventus side will be favourites to top the Serie A table again, but warned that the best team doesn’t always triumph.
The Bianconeri, going for a hat-trick of Scudetti, will begin their campaign at Sampdoria on Saturday evening.
“It is right that we start the season as favourites because we have won the last two titles, but the favourite doesn’t always win,” he said from Vinovo on Friday afternoon.
“The winners will be who prove to be the strongest on the field of play. Two years ago we were not favourites and we won.
“It will be really hard this year, there are sides who have spent a lot more than Juventus. Other clubs have spent more and you say the gap between us and the rest has grown…”
The former midfielder will be especially cautious of Sampdoria, given that the port club did the double over the Turin giants in 2012-13.
“We lost both games against Sampdoria last term,” he added. “We will be facing a well prepared side, Delio Rossi is a footballing teacher. We are working on the difficulties we expect to encounter.
“At this stage of the season, all sides can’t be at 100 per cent. In the Super Cup last weekend, 10 of the 11 who started were with us last season, so there was organisation and tactical knowledge. That helped, as did the determination of players to win the first trophy of the season.”
The Bianconeri are set to field a 3-5-2 at Marassi, with Carlos Tevez the only new face expected to start. Paul Pogba will replace the injured Claudio Marchisio.
“The side I picked against Lazio on Sunday was the one which offered me most guarantees. I’ll do the same tomorrow.
“The team and I will miss Marchisio. He is a player who, along with everyone else, has allowed Juventus to win.”
As it stands, Bosman signing Fernando Llorente will have to be content with a place on the bench – something which has raised an eyebrow or two.
“Llorente didn’t play against Lazio, but neither did Sebastian Giovinco and Alessandro Matri,” Conte continued. “Look at Barcelona where Neymar sat on the bench.
“Only in this country are inexistent controversies created. All of the new players have integrated themselves well and they will give us a helping hand.”
Conte was also asked whether he was planning to alter his now preferred shape which consists of a three-man defence.
“We play and we win and you ask me if I have any plans to change tactics? Why is there that need? I’ll know how to answer that question one day…
“A long adventure starts tomorrow. In two years, Juve have won four out of seven trophies – they are monstrous numbers when you consider that this was the year we had originally planned to try to win the Scudetto again.”
The former Bari and Siena tactician was also asked about the club’s intentions before the transfer window closes at the start of September.
“Things between myself and the Juve directors are private. There are still 10-12 days left to sign players and work will be done to try and get our targets.”