Inter coach Antonio Conte has urged his players to make history with the club as they close in on the Scudetto following a 1-1 draw with Napoli yesterday.
The Nerazzurri moved nine points clear at the top of the Serie A table with the stalemate at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, with Christian Eriksen cancelling out a first half Samir Handanovic own goal.
In his post-match press conference, as reported by FCInterNews.it, Conte declared himself happy with his side’s mentality as they overcame the own goal, whilst also reminding his players of what is at stake.
“From our side, there is great satisfaction because we saw the mental strength of this team after a very, very unfortunate episode, in which they never lost focus. It’s important. I’m very happy and satisfied because tonight we showed our strength,” Conte claimed.
“The reaction was important because in the past we would have struggled in this type of match from a psychological point of view. Instead, a solid mentality has grown in this team. Regardless of a positive or negative event, the boys they know what they have to do. I think this is the most important step.
“Today we gave a great demonstration of strength and why we are at the top of the table. Going to Naples, going behind against a strong team and not just drawing but trying to win, that’s a lot.
“Today we did made another little step. We dropped two points in comparison to Milan and Atalanta, so we have to keep pushing, but we’re doing things that satisfy me.
“I love to reiterate to the people who work with me, not just the players, that everyone is capable of doing a good job, few are able to win. That’s what makes the difference.
Playing for Inter but not winning trophies would not put you in the history of this great club. It is this message that I have tried to pass on from the first day to young people who are always eager to enter the history books of Inter.”
Denmark international Eriksen continued his good form since the turn of the year, having struggled to make an impact since arriving from Tottenham Hotspur in January 2020, and Conte felt his improvement was a collective effort.
“I think that when a player improves it is thanks to everyone. First of all the player, who did not give up even in the most difficult moments, also because he has always felt trust on my part, his teammates and the club,” Conte claimed.
“He has always been treated like a player who is as important as the others, we had the opportunity to work with him more. He needed more time to settle in and understand.
“Now he is definitely the player we hoped for. I think the credit should be shared by everyone, with his teammates who have always involved him, and the staff who took him individually and helped him.
“I think that every coach has the task of improving all their players first and foremost. Sometimes choices have to be made and it’s inevitable that there 11 players will start, plus substitutes.”
Conte assessed the performance of striker Lautaro Martinez after the Argentine failed to score and substituted for Alexis Sanchez in the second half.
“Lauti has shown exponential growth, in my opinion, given his young age. We are talking about a guy who does not have great experience but has understood that if he wants to become a top player he must continue what he is doing.”
Finally, the coach addressed suggestions that some of Europe’s top clubs, including Inter, will look to break away and form a Super League.
“I read a little bit about it but we are focused on the present, trying to achieve something extraordinary for the club and the fans. Then we’ll see. Am I ready? I was born ready,” he concluded.