Antonio Conte understands what it means to be head coach at Inter now, according to the Nerazzurri’s former defender Francesco Colonnese.
Conte took charge of the Nerazzurri in the summer of 2019 and had several controversial moments during his first season, appearing to criticise owners Suning and the club’s management for not protecting and backing him sufficiently.
He seemed to definitively sever his ties with Juventus last week, though, when he was embroiled in a row with the Bianconeri’s president Andrea Agnelli.
“Conte is part of Juventus and for those who played against him for Inter, like me, it’s strange to see him coaching Inter,” Colonnese told TeleLombardia today during their Top Calcio 24 program.
“He’s done his job though and he’s giving his all.
“He was wrong in his first year to comment negatively on what the club was doing.
“Because, objectively, Inter is Inter and he has understood that now, only later.
“Now he knows what it means to be at Inter.
“I didn’t like when he was critical, because Inter must be understood, you need to understand why they’re not winning.
“Now that he understands what Inter is, I like him more.
“I’m on his side now because the reaction, the desire to rebel, shows you that the Nerazzurri colours are different colours.”
Colonnese went on to discuss all the controversy at the end of the recent Derby d’Italia meeting between Juventus and Inter in Turin, in which Conte and Agnelli exchanged insults.
“I feel like smiling because had there been all these cameras on the pitch when we played them 22 years ago, we would have certainly all been suspended,” he laughed.
“These are unpleasant scenes.
“There is a heated rivalry and then there is also the fact that Conte left Juve, so there were some disagreements between them.
“Certainly something was unclear and what we do not know, they know for sure.”
Colonnese, who played for Inter between 1997 and 2000, then went on to suggest that this current Inter lacks real Inter identity.
“For me it is missing at the whole club,” he argued.
“Inter need people who have worn the shirt and know what it means because the Inter fans are different from all the others, and I have played in different teams.
“I played in Naples, in Rome, but the Inter fan is particular and if you lose there are still 70,000 people at the stadium.
“Only those who have played for Inter know what Inter means.
“For a long time there was no one who could help convey the passion, the sense of Inter-ism, the diversity compared to other teams.
“This sense of being pure because Inter have always won cleanly.
“Inter have suffered and when they say ‘Inter never wins’ the answer is true, it is not easy to win at Inter.
“You can see it even now and everyone is noticing it.
“At Inter it’s not easy to win, it’s not easy for many things.”
He proceeded to point out some people who he thinks could help out in this regard, and even put himself forward.
“I was part of a great Inter in which there were players with personality.
“Marco Materazzi could be an important figure, Riccardo Ferri is a figure with temperament.
“There are so many that could help like Gianluca Pagliuca and Ivan Zamorano, who could be important.
“I am small compared to them, but I could help because I built my career coming from difficult realities and I know what it means to play at San Siro and be appreciated by such an important fan base.
“If after many years you are well liked it means that you have given your all, that you have done something good.
“An emotional charge must be transmitted to the players and anyone wearing the Nerazzurri shirt, even in the youth sector.
“Inter must be revitalised, they have a target market which has potential.”