Florence

Soccer: Conte wins top coach award

'Spur to improvement' Juve boss says

Soccer: Conte wins top coach award

Florence, February 18 - Antonio Conte on Monday won Italy's best coach award for taking Juventus to the Serie A championship last season. Conte, 43, a former Juve and Italy midfielder, recently returned from a four-month betting-scam ban to keep the champs on track to retain the scudetto. They are currently leading Napoli by four points despite defeat to Roma at the weekend. "I thank you for this award, greatly prized by anyone in our profession," Conte said after the results of voting from his peers were announced. "It's a prize that spurs me to try to keep improving, always". Conte succeeds Udinese boss Francesco Guidolin who led the north-eastern team to an impressive fourth-place finish in the 2010-2011 season. Each year the best coach is voted onto the so-called 'Golden Bench' by his Serie A colleagues in a ceremony at the Italian Soccer Federation's training base at Coverciano near Florence. Two years ago former Inter Milan manager Jose' Mourinho, now at Real Madrid, won the prize after leading the Italian side to a Champions League-Serie A-Italian Cup treble in the 2009-2010 campaign.

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