Antonio Conte: It's a tiring but exciting period for Juventus
Antonio Conte: It's a tiring but exciting period for Juventus

Antonio Conte says his Juventus side is tiring as it fights on two fronts ahead of Thursday's Europa League clash with Benfica.

Juve is on the brink of retaining its Serie A title and will move a step closer to European glory if it can claim victory in the first leg of the semifinal at Estadio da Luz.

Conte admits he is relishing the prospect of facing last season's beaten finalists but is wary of the threat posed by the newly crowned champions of Portugal.

"It's a tiring but exciting period for all concerned with Juventus," Conte told reporters. "We're in the running for the title and the Europa League final.

"We know we have to come through 180 minutes against a strong side. They've consolidated last year's progress with the league title. There are 38 games in the league. Margin for error is minimal in Europe and current form also counts a great deal."

That level of margin for error will be even smaller against a Benfica side that comes into the tie on good form.

"Winning is always difficult but we'll look to come out on top in both competitions, despite being up against strong opposition," Conte said. "Benfica's title win is an important achievement for them. We still need to get there and have to focus on both competitions.

"Jorge Jesus is doing a great job with Benfica and I have immense respect for him and his team."

Conte has an injury concern over Carlos Tevez, following a thigh problem, while Arturo Vidal will miss out with a knee injury.

"Tevez is back training. I'll wait until Thursday before deciding whether he'll start or not," Conte added. "Vidal is out. We'll let him rest up and hopefully he'll be back within a week's time."

The winner of the last four clash will play in the final on May 14, which this year is being held at Juventus Stadium.

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