Speaking in an long interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, former Inter and AC Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo has shared his thoughts ahead of this weekend’s Milan derby.
“There’s a 19-point gap, but the derby is a game unto itself and that difference is wiped out. Inter are in better shape, but both teams know that this is a match that can change the season, as it doesn’t just bring points, but also self-esteem,” he began the interview which appeared in today’s print edition.
He was then asked about whether Inter can realistically fight for the Serie A title this season and heaped praise upon Inter manager Antonio Conte.
“They’ll fight for the Scudetto to the end. Conte forces you to give your best at all times, more than you even thought you had. He is obsessed with victory, so when he loses, he becomes a demon. You dare not speak to him.
“Conte is the best coach I ever worked with, every day he showed us 40-50 minute video sessions. It’s because of him that I started considering the idea of becoming a coach myself.”
Pirlo then went on to speak about the gap between Inter and Juventus reducing and why Inter have managed to do this.
“It is above all Conte who has reduced the gap with Juve, but the club also spent money wisely to bring in players suited to his ideas. Inter will try to the end, but Juventus remain the favourites because they have quality in every individual.”
The former New York City FC player then spoke on one of Inter’s January transfer window recruits, Christian Eriksen.
“Christian Eriksen raises the Inter level, but he needs time to settle, because Serie A is very different to the Premier League.
He also sang the praises of Inter midfielders Nicolo Barella and Stefano Sensi who have surprised many with just how easy they have handled the step up.
“They are two good players, they come from small teams but have shown that they have personality by jumping into a big club.”
In conclusion he spoke on Inter striker Lautaro Martinez and how big a miss he will be for Inter in the derby.
“Lautaro was good last year but today he is another player. He has totally evolved as a player and is more aware and Conte will have given him a lot too. He helps the team. He and Lukaku play close together as Conte wants and his absence will be felt.”