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Soccer-Conte rages at another Juventus collapse

Reuters

Feb 9 (Reuters) - Furious Juventus coach Antonio Conte launched another tirade at his players on Sunday, saying they had taken a "shower of humility" after squandering a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw at Verona.

"I'm very unhappy that we conceded two goals against a team that created little," he told reporters. "We go 2-0 ahead, then concede a goal and start panicking. There's no explanation."

Despite a nine-point lead at the top of Serie A, Juventus have been vulnerable to sudden, unexplained collapses which have already ended their Champions League campaign.

Conte's side were knocked out in the group stage after conceding late goals in both fixtures against Galatasaray, drawing 2-2 at home and losing 1-0 away.

Their only league defeat of the season came after they blew a two-goal lead at Fiorentina and conceded four goals in 15 extraordinary minutes.

A fierce competitor in his playing days, with one Champions League and five Serie A titles in his collection, there is nothing that annoys the short-tempered 44-year-old more than seeing his team throw away points with slack defending.

"We have to understand that the match lasts for 95 minutes," he said in his distinctive growl after Juanito Gomez scored Verona's equaliser in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

"We have to pay much more attention. It's not enough to be 2-0 ahead at halftime. I'm very unhappy that we lost these points because of a very serious lack of attention.

"This result should make us take a shower of humility, something which perhaps we needed."

Second-placed Roma were held to a 0-0 draw by Lazio, but that did not placate Conte.

"Regardless of what the others did, this is a wasted opportunity," he said. "Only we could have let Verona back into the game.

"We must learn from this and be aware the scudetto isn't won yet. In previous years we won it with determination, aggression and strength and it won't be easy to repeat that." (Reporting By Brian Homewood; Editing by Rex Gowar)

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