The idea that Inter coach Antonio Conte plays a ‘catenaccio’ style of football is simply wrong, an Italian media report has argued today.
Gazzetta dello Sport’s print edition pointed out that wherever Conte has worked, from his first job at Bari to now at Inter, he has always started out by focusing on his team’s attacking play.
The former Italian national team coach always looks to firstly set up an attack that can make a big impact, before working out things in other departments without neglecting the need for balance and a solid defence.
The best example of this philosophy is this season, the report highlighted, when Conte tried to start with a no. 10 and Achraf Hakimi and Ivan Perisic on the wings, before having to make adjustments when Inter were conceding too many goals.
Conte played an enterprising 4-2-4 system at Bari, the Milan-based paper recalled, before playing a qualitative 3-5-2 formation at Juventus, the same system he uses at Inter.
He started with a back four at Chelsea, meanwhile, before swapping to the 3-4-2-1 formation which won him the Premier League title, getting the most out of quality players like Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro.
The aggressive and high-pressing style that Conte adopted at Juventus would not be suitable for the current Inter squad, the report argued, as both Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez play better when they have space to attack.
Conte has therefore lowered Inter’s defensive line after a shaky start to the season and created a system which suits his side much more.
“Catenaccio is something very different,” Gazzetta concluded.
Inter’s legendary former striker Alessandro Altobelli weighed into the debate today and told Conte’s critics they didn’t know what they were talking about.