Antonio Conte: “Critique On How Inter Play? I’m The Problem Regardless”

Antonio Conte: “Critique On How Inter Play? I’m The Problem Regardless”
April 17, 2021 14:40
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Inter coach Antonio Conte insists he remains undeterred by criticism of the Nerazzurri and insists he is ready to take the brunt instead of the team.

The league leaders travel to the Stadio Diego Armano Maradona to face Napoli in Serie A tomorrow evening and the coach addressed criticism surrounding their style of play, whilst also demanding focus as Inter look to secure the Scudetto.

“I understand that I am the problem, regardless of the criticism. The important thing is that they do not touch Inter,” the coach declared in his pre-match press conference, as reported by

“It’s not a question of getting angry or not if players feel they have already won, it’s a question of knowing that there are still points we need to gain if we are to reach our objective.

“We must go to Naples to play the game and try to get the victory, as they will. Then we’ll see the result. We can’t make calculations, because in my experience it is not useful to do it. It would become dangerous.”

Conte also insisted that his side were not champions yet, despite having an 11-point gap at the top of the table, and felt it important to ignore suggestions from pundits that they had wrapped up the title.

“We must not read too much into this. That some think the Scudetto has been awarded to us already is a risk we must avoid, a trap to not fall into. We know the sacrifices we’ve made to get to this position but we must remain humble enough to know that we are still short of making the dream come true.”

Inter come up against a Napoli side that have enjoyed four wins from their last five games under coach Gennaro Gattuso, and Conte was expected a difficult encounter.

“I am expecting a challenging match and I have always put Napoli among the two or three teams that could compete for the title, because I know the squad and they have a very good coach in Gattuso. We must be ready for a very difficult match,” he continued.

“Napoli have an important squad, I think one of the best in Serie A. At the beginning of the season I put them among the candidates to fight to win the Scudetto.

“Rino is doing well and he is a very good coach, but we know all well, me included, that the coach is the person in the firing line if the results are lacking.

“It has not been an easy year even for me. If a player asks me for advice on whether to become a coach or not, I always tell them that it takes a lot of effort. Sometimes even when you get result you are not the best. It takes passion must to go beyond right or wrong decisions.”

Inter faced a difficult match against Napoli in December, securing a 1-0 win courtesy of a Romelu Lukaku penalty after Lorenzo Insigne had been sent off, and the coach continued to praise the Azzurri.

“There are times when you put your opponents in difficulty and others when it is the opposite. They have quality and players who are good at attacking spaces. They are a group of players who know each other and have been playing together for a long time.

“They have added expensive players like [Victor] Osimhen, and [Hirving] Lozano last year. They are strong but we have to show that we are too.

“We have great respect and we will go there to play the game. In the Coppa Italia we lost 1-0 last year at the San Siro after dominating. In the end they went on to win the trophy.”

Inter have enjoyed the luxury of relatively stable team in the mould of Conte’s 3-5-2 formation this season, and the coach felt that having a core identity was crucial to enjoying success in modern football.

“I think each team must have it’s own identity and insisting on a certain system can provide this. Then beyond that there are the principles, which can be adapted to different types of systems.

“I believe that working on a system for players is simpler, they become familiar. You can make changes in possession and without the ball, but you have to be able to recognise a team.”

The match will see Lukaku come up against centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly and Conte expected an interesting clash between them.

“We are talking about a defender who I consider among the two or three best in the world. He’s a very strong player that I wanted to bring to Chelsea. He has developed since then.

“It is useless for me to introduce Koulibaly to Romelu, he knows him. He too has grown a lot, it will be a good battle, but to put the opponent in difficulty, we have to work as a team by finding the solutions in the match.”

Finally, the Nerazzurri coach gave an injury update on players, including wing-back Ivan Perisic after the Croatian missed the last three games, and midfielder Arturo Vidal.

“Ivan is with the group and is available. Vidal is still working separately together with [Aleksandar] Kolarov to overcome his injury. Kolarov has a back problem, we hope to have him as soon as possible,” Conte concluded.

By Apollo Heyes

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