Inter defender Stefan de Vrij feels that Inter are in great form this season partly because of the strong foundations laid by Antonio Conte but also because of what Simone Inzaghi has added.
Speaking to Italian broadcaster DAZN, the 29-year-old gave his thoughts on how each coach has left his mark at the Nerazzurri, among other topics.
De Vrij has seen the Nerazzurri grow significantly in the three and a half seasons he has been at the club so far, and last campaign was a watershed moment.
The Scudetto win showed that the team had arrived in some sense, with the influence of current Tottenham Hotspur coach Antonio Conte clear in the organization and clinical edge that the team showed on the pitch.
This season, however, the Nerazzurri look to be taking yet another step along their development path, and they owe a great deal of this to the work of current coach Inzaghi.
Comparing the two to Dutch Impressionist painters, de Vrij stated that “Conte is more Mondrian whereas Inzaghi is more Van Gogh.”
“They are two coaches who have been proven right because they’ve won,” he went on.
The defender explained that “I had already worked with Inzaghi at Lazio, Conte has had a major career and has always won.”
“When you work with him you understand why this is,” he added of Conte.
“They also attack,” he stated of the wide centre-backs, “under Conte we won the Scudetto after a long time and now it shows. When Inzaghi started the season, the base was already there and he is having his own significant season.”
De Vrij disputed the idea that playing as the central defender in a back three is a simple task, stating that “Not for me it isn’t. It can appear that you have more cover, but you need a lot of communication.”
“There is a three- or a five-man line and you have to break it more often to get out,” he continued. “We call each other the exits.”
De Vrij spoke about his taste in music, stating that “I grew up with rock and indie rock music thanks to my parents who used to put on CDs of Pearl-Jam, Nirvana, Dire Straits on when we went on vacation.”
“Then my brother recommended that I listen to some classical music and I was really impressed,” he added.
He also talked about his love of cycling, stating that “I did everything by bike. I grew up in a very small village of five thousand people and everyone travels around by bike. I went to school by bike, as well as football.”
“And even when I played with Feyenoord, where I made my debut at 17,” he recalled.
“It used to happen that I’d go to the stadium by bike or by subway, and the fans would ask me, ‘Aren you going to play?’ And I’d ‘Yes, I’m going there,'” he went on.
He also clarified that his name is pronounced as “de Frei,” and that “Dutch pronunciation is among the most difficult in the world.”
On his friends within the club, de Vrij named “Dumfries, who is Dutch. He jokes a lot, then on the pitch he is a warrior. Very nice guy. Then we often hang out with Calhanoglu, Radu.”
He named his favourite author as “Steven King, since I was little.”
And when asked who would be “king” at Inter the 29-year-old said “The coach Inzaghi, or maybe the captain Handanovic.”