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Saturday July 6 2019
The Italianisation of Internazionale

Antonio Conte is transforming the very template of what it means to be an Inter team, argues Football Italia Chief Correspondent Richard Hall.

Internazionale have always embraced their name and history, but under Antonio Conte the Nerazzurri may also exhibit more of the green, white and red.

Not only will the formation be different, but the style too, not mention the personnel. The increase in Italians in this squad could also, by the end of the transfer window, give Inter a look that it hasn’t had in years. The club that claims to be ‘International’ has kept its promise and often not even fielded an Italian in the starting XI. So why is the new Coach insistent on changing this and will it make a difference?

When Inter chose Conte, they hired a man who was intent on changing the identity of Inter. He wanted to transform the style of play, the speed of the game and make them what he sees as the perfect representation of an Italian team. The former box to box midfielder always has had clear ideas about how his teams should play, and this was especially evident at Juventus and then Chelsea. Now he brings this to San Siro and fans of the Nerazzurri will certainly see a transformation.

Hard work and a clear focus have always been two things that Conte had in his playing career. It was no surprise he brought this through to his coaching career, but these two key features were added to by the influence of the Coaches he met along the way. Giovanni Trapattoni, Carlo Ancelotti, but in particular Marcello Lippi.

Under Lippi, Conte discovered just how much hard work and physicality could influence the game. His teams as a result have been fit, strong and intelligent. He learned from Lippi tactically too, as with a 4-3-3 formation and industrious style, Juventus won titles in 1995, 1997 and 1998. Lippi, like Conte now, had clear ideas that were to be executed. They trained hard and they also learned how to understand how to bounce back from defeat.

These values were clear when Conte’s Juventus went on to incredible success domestically under his stewardship. His core of Italian players, Gigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Pirlo and others acted as the leadership group and understood his message. Pirlo famously said: “When Conte spoke, his words assaulted you.” Perhaps the reactions of an Italian core resonate with the rest of the non-Italian speakers? It is certainly something he seems keen in installing with his current group. Stefano Sensi has arrived, with Nicolò Barella and Mattia Darmian linked, added to the likes of Antonio Candreva, Matteo Politano, Andrea Ranocchia and Roberto Gagliardini. This Italianisation of Inter is part of the Conte template.

As the Nerazzurri get ready to welcome in a new era, they will certainly see a difference in intensity and approach. Conte has been successful because he has the ability to work out the best system for his team. He played with a 4-3-3 at Chelsea, but after defeat at Arsenal he switched to a 3-4-3 and they went on to win the league. He knows when to alter the systems, but in Europe he has been criticised for being too limited with his tactics. On arriving at Inter, he insisted that all youth level teams at the club switch to the 3-5-2 and it will be interesting to see if his senior side has the ability to do this also. The early signings of Diego Godin and Valentino Lazaro suggest that he has identified that this is the way he wants to begin life in Milan.

Inter can look forward to this new era with hope. For a team that under their last few Coaches have lacked style and energy, this will be a welcome change. They are not switching styles, they are simply being offered something they didn’t previously have. They will see more Italians in the team, they will have a shape and an aggression they haven’t possessed and this will at the very least make them competitive. The disciple of Lippi has won at Juventus, he has won a Chelsea and now he plans to win at Inter.

Have your say...
I am juve through and through but I hope Inter challenge us for scudetto along with Napoli and excel in Champs league as a strong serie A is good for all calcio lovers. We will sort out the domestic problems with inter in derby de Italia. All the best in Europe inter.
on the 8th July, 2019 at 11:53pm
with all the Money Inter has to do to reinforce this team so that they can catch 3rd place they could have bought 3rd place Atalanta for less! it's the very best this Inter can do right now with this squad. but after finishing 6th 9th 5th 8th 4th 7th 4th 4th a 3rd place finish would be the best finish inter has had in 8 years.....what's wrong, 8 years not enough to build a winner ?
on the 8th July, 2019 at 3:41pm
@Niscist, i dont like him either being a coach of inter and stuck with a smarty like you (Conte was a box to box midfielder, fyi he scored more goals than Nicola Ventola). I hope Conte will regret his decision just like Lippi did after went to inter.
on the 7th July, 2019 at 2:56pm
@JUVE FAN, the only reason why Bonucci, Bernardeschi and Kean start is bc Italy is rubbish. Just because they're beating nonames, doesn't mean that they're better than the team that couldn't qualify for WC 2018. @FERBAN, if your nick is "JUVE FAN" and you are bashing against Inter for something that your own club is no better at, yes than i'll write about Juve. @Anonymous, "italian of talent", if foreigner > italian = buy foreigner. I consider most italians to be average, so why buy them?
on the 7th July, 2019 at 1:26pm
If Chiellini was the only talent, wtf is the level of Inter players? To all Inter players in the last 5 years, it would be kudos to call them flops. Sorry, one is called Judas.
on the 7th July, 2019 at 9:11am
The only Italian worth mentioning is Barella, if they get him that is, I don't see an Italian identity there. Their best signing is Conte, he will steady the ship and maybe even compete for 1st or 2nd locally, I know he sucked in CL but that's not even an objective for Inter right now. A few more seasons in top 4 will put them in a good position financially and in the market. Marotta knows nothing can be built overnight. As much as I hate them, I wish them well for the good of the league.
on the 7th July, 2019 at 5:14am
Hope they keep Nainggolan he could be a beast for them. ...and what of Candreva ?
He basically fell off the radar of being a above average player. Is Conte gonna revive him? ...or will he be sold on the cheap when he was once worth $50 million at Lazio before going to Inter. scouted by Man U and Barca....or will he ride the bench before loaned out to Sassuolo.
Just wanna say now if Conte wins scudetto in 1st season he’ll be greatest Italian coach in history. May not happen as Juve so stacked
on the 7th July, 2019 at 2:12am
I don't like that Conte will be our coach, but we will give him a chance.
Btw I believe Conte as a player was not a box to box player, to say the least. Ball winning midfielder is what comes to my mind. Anyway, forza inter, the only italian team to have won the tripple. And also only team, who have always been in serie a.
on the 7th July, 2019 at 12:44am
@ talent < nationality

JUVE FAN never mentioned Juve, you brought them up.

He was talking solely on Inter, of whom the article is about.
on the 6th July, 2019 at 11:53pm
talent > nationality

The ignorance - we aren't talking about Juve, if you haven't noticed this is an article about Inter, best to ask me on my views on Juve before you make assumptions if my comments bother you so much. Just because my title is JuveFan doesn't mean I think the sun shines out of the club's ***

As you brought up Juve - Rugani screwed himself over he should've left. And whether you like it or not Bonucci and Bernadeschi currently start for Italy, Kean up until recently did too.
on the 6th July, 2019 at 10:32pm
I'm against buying italians just because they're italians, if an italian player is inferior to a foreigner, i prefer the foreigner.

@JUVE FAN, oh the hypocrisy. The only italian of talent that you have is Chiellini. You guys screwed Rugani, wasted two years of Bernardeschi and as of now are only buying foreigners (Ramsey, Rabiot, Demirel), interested in Pogba, Icardi and Lukaku.
on the 6th July, 2019 at 7:47pm
What? That he'll stop them being losers?? I think he'll struggle since it's in their DNA. Of course, mutations can happen on occasion but eventually, everything returns to a mean distribution of poor performance.
on the 6th July, 2019 at 7:20pm
4 out of Inter's 6 confirmed/likely summer signings (Godin, Dzeko, Lukaku, Sensi, Barella, Lazaro) are foreigners.

Sensi and Barella will probably be the only Italian starters next season.

Very strange article.
on the 6th July, 2019 at 7:01pm
The Juve squads of Conte were heavy on Italians and successful in Italy, but they always fell short in the Champions League. Over time, Juventus introduced more foreign players into their lineup in order to make deeper runs into the elite club championship. ... I am not crazy about Conte coaching Inter (it's as if the Rebel Alliance signed Darth Vader to fight the Empire), but perhaps he will help shake things up and spare us of having to watch the predictable play of Mancini and Spaletti squads
on the 6th July, 2019 at 6:32pm
Inter has always been for most part Italian only in name...and prestige...but last 30 years in actuality has always been the most UN-Italian club in history...with all the foreign players. Now owners aren’t even Italian, least there was Moratti dynasty. And any fan of Serie A knows the Italianless rosters or starting 11 of all past seasons. It’s become the clubs MO. nice to see Conte wielding his proven skill in Italy again...tho Spaletti was great, but fell into the drama pit w/ certain douche.
on the 6th July, 2019 at 5:42pm
Apart from Barella and Sensi (who's still a lesser version of Veratti) there are average Italians at Inter. For any other top club in Europe only Barella and possibly Sensi would be considered as targets the rest are past it / had potential and didn't live up to it.

Still it's nice to see them have a couple of worthy Italians in the team. But make no mistake the only player that could start for any club in world football of the Italians mentioned is Barella - they'll be lucky to get him.
on the 6th July, 2019 at 12:39pm
Conte has been good at getting the best out of players who aren't stars or particularly talented.

That should suit Inter as so far the transfers have been good but not great. Godin, Sensi, and Lazaro all look like decent buys.

But the Icardi situation is a mess and they need another top forward like Lozano or Ziyech. Either could be excellent alongside Martinez and/or Lazaro.

Hopefully the Vidal rumours are just that - his legs are gone.
on the 6th July, 2019 at 12:29pm

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