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Juventus short on strikers

21 January 2013 22:20

Juventus boss Antonio Conte is suffering a lack of striking options ahead of Tuesday's Coppa Italia semi-final clash with Lazio.

The 43-year-old has been left with a depleted strikeforce following injuries to Sebastian Giovinco and Nicklas Bendtner, while leading scorer Fabio Quagliarella misses out through suspension.

And Conte admits he is erring on the side of caution before making a decision on Mirko Vucinic's fitness.

"We'll have to evaluate Vucinic," Conte told reporters.

"He played 90 intense minutes at the weekend after a period in which we had to preserve him because of his ankle.

"I'll need to speak to Vucinic, but I have to evaluate everything. I don't want him to get injured again, I want to be cautious.

"We'll have to carefully consider whether to give him another 90 minutes, especially as we only have one striker left in Alessandro Matri.

"I'm not yet able to say who will play, I'll have to deploy someone out of their natural position."

The Bianconeri are also set to be without the influence of Andrea Pirlo once more.

The 33-year-old missed out on the 4-0 victory over Udinese at the weekend and Conte confirmed Pirlo would again be unavailable for selection.

"Pirlo won't play, that's for certain. However, Claudio Marchisio should return," he added.

Conte also praised the contribution of Vladimir Petkovic since taking over as Lazio manager last June.

"Well, I didn't know Petkovic as a manager. I know that he has had some experiences in foreign countries, and this is something I envy him because I would have liked to have such experiences as a player, not as a manger, since I've only recently started my career in this role," he said.

"He has managed to go to different countries and has known different cultures: I know he has been in Turkey and Switzerland. He is a good manager and has a good approach. From the tactical point of view, Lazio are very compact and the whole team is focused on the result.

"They're putting in very good performances. I have to congratulate him: Lazio already had a good basis, and they proved it also with [Edy] Reja last year, but this year they have become even more confident in their ability.

"They are a strong team and they are difficult to face. They have proved it in the championship as well, [in the Serie A game] we would have surely deserved to win, but in managing to keep the result to 0-0 they have proved their strength and the values of both the players and the manager."

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