Antonio Conte has stressed that Juventus will face a challenge from six other clubs in the Serie A title race in 2012-13.
The Turin giant is looking to make it three in a row this season after back-to-back titles in the past two years, but Conte believes the growing potential of the likes of Fiorentina, Napoli and Lazio will pose a severe threat to the established elite in Italy.
"The values of clubs are changing and our rivals are all getting stronger. I think that it will be a very open Serie A campaign," Conte was quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport. "AC Milan and Inter have a lot of tradition, Napoli have spent a lot of money and have signed a great coach, while Fiorentina have legitimate hopes as well. They do not only have Mario Gomez, but also have Giuseppe Rossi up front.
"Lazio have improved their squad again and Roma have done some great business with the sale of Marquinhos for that figure."
Conte went on to stress that Juventus is "ahead of schedule" as the club looks to establish itself as a major force on the continent.
"We are still catching up with the big European clubs, but we hope to reach them at some point," he said. "We are already ahead of our own schedule. When I came here, the plan was to win the Scudetto within three years."
The successful coach also took the time to discuss new arrivals Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente and had nothing but praise for the attacking duo.
"Tevez is an extraordinary player. He's a real professional and a fantastic person. He works very hard for the team," coach said.
"Llorente is the ideal athlete. He has a perfect mentality and it's a joy to see him in action on the training pitch."
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