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Champions League Qualifying Third Round

Lennon: Conte talking rubbish

Celtic boss Neil Lennon has accused Juventus coach Antonio Conte of "talking rubbish" ahead of Wednesday's clash.

Last Updated: 06/03/13 at 19:12 Post Comment

Neil Lennon: Critical of Antonio Conte comments

Neil Lennon: Critical of Antonio Conte comments

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The two managers square off in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League in Turin with the Italian side boasting a 3-0 lead from the first leg in Glasgow three weeks ago.

That game made headlines for the grappling that occurred in the box with Celtic feeling they should have been awarded a series of penalties.

But Conte insists the positioning of Gary Hooper near goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon meant that Celtic were just as guilty - a view that has raised Lennon's ire.

"Hooper is allowed to stand in front of Buffon so Conte is talking rubbish," said Lennon. "Any player can stand anywhere he likes in the box.

"He's not affecting the goalkeeper, he's not touching the goalkeeper and he's not preventing him from getting the ball.

"If he prevents him from getting the ball then, yes, it's a free-kick. But before the ball is kicked he's not doing anything and he is entitled to stand where he likes. So Conte is talking nonsense."

The Juve coach had earlier tried to turn the focus on Celtic's behaviour in the penalty area by threatening to send a dossier of his own to UEFA, as Lennon had done.

"Every time there is a corner to Celtic there is always a punishment in favour of the defending team because there is a player who systematically blocks our keeper in the six-yard box," said Conte.

"In this case of the first leg it was Hooper. Regulation says in the six-yard box a keeper must not be touched and if he is it is a foul.

"So I say every time there is a player that goes in there then all angles show there was a foul in favour of Juventus.

"Lennon talks about the rules so I'll bring a dossier about the Celtic player blocking our keeper."

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