Antonio Conte is a far more profound person than perhaps meets the eye, at least according to one leading Italian journalist.
Conte is seen by most as a fiery and instinctive character who thrives off conflict, often quick to jump on anybody who disagrees with his views.
However, Mario Sconcerti believes the Inter boss is a very different person behind the scenes, comparing him to two of Italy’s former World Cup winning coaches.
In a column for CalcioMercato.com on Friday, Sconcerti revealed: “A week ago, I had the opportunity to speak at length with Conte.
“There were three of us from Corriere della Sera, two at Appiano Gentile and myself on the phone.
“I will not talk about the interview because it came out last Sunday, but I’ll talk about the different impression that Conte made on me.
“He is a man with confidence in himself, he is reasoned, has explained tranquillity and is not just instinctive.
“He does not deny that after games he can be a bit on edge and often quarrelsome, however he makes it clear that there is much more behind him.
“It is not fair to judge a person based on a stressful moment.
“I must say that in the twenty or so times that I happened to meet him in life or for work, I had the sensation of this different depth that did not add up with the extreme version of him we see on the bench.
“I have now found the confirmation that Conte is a coach who is not like a footballer.
“I would say he is a coach who goes far beyond impressions and management of the pitch.
“He is someone who loves to do a lot and who judges himself every time.
“An atypical term comes to me : it seems to me that he is a cultured coach.
“Before I would say I have only said this about Enzo Bearzot, Nils Liedholm and Marcello Lippi.”
Conte is nearly two years into his stint at Inter and seems to have put them on course for a first Serie A title in 11 years, following Thursday’s 2-1 win at Parma.
The former Juventus boss has coached the team in 88 games across all competitions, leading Inter to 53 victories.
A report in yesterday’s papers argued Conte has managed to make the Nerazzurri more resilient during his time in charge, as demonstrated by their hard-fought win at the Stadio Ennio Tardini.