Antonio Conte assures “choosing Inter was easy, as they have great tradition and one of the most important histories in the world.”
The Nerazzurri held their first Press conference of the season with director general Beppe Marotta and new Coach Conte.
“Choosing Inter was easy, because we had the same vision. We shared the same ambition, the desire to build something important, albeit knowing it will take a hard and long journey,” the tactician told reporters.
“It’s a club with a great tradition, one of the most important histories in the world, so it was a simple decision to accept.
“I am a person who does not set limits and I don’t want others to, either. That would otherwise just create alibis for everyone going into the season.
“It’s no secret that there’s an enormous gap right now between Inter and Juventus, while Napoli have also shown themselves to be consistent. We’ve got to bridge that gap and start with the ambition to give our very best, so we end the season without recrimination or regret.”
Marotta said Conte was “our real top player” for this season, who can end the trophy drought.
“I thank Marotta for that. I believe this squad has the foundations to create something special. I’ll have to give my support, as I believe I’ve always done in previous jobs. I feel the responsibility on my shoulders towards those who chose me, towards the club and fans. I am ready to carry that responsibility with my players.
“This is the summer, it’s the period of talking, but I feel we have to talk less and work harder. We must be ferocious and focused on our objective, giving stability to the team with a spirit of sacrifice.
“If we want to have an important season as protagonists, then we must have those characteristics. It’s our duty to leave the field every weekend with a shirt soaked through with sweat.”
Conte is most associated with Juventus after his time there as both player and Coach, winning three consecutive Serie A titles.
“You get nowhere as individuals and we are reacting together, working to become a single coherent group. All together, we can achieve 15-25 points more than previous seasons.
“I’ll have to point the way, that is my responsibility, so I must pay close attention to assure they find their way home. The players will have to accept this if they want to match our ambition, but if someone doesn’t feel like it, then it’s only right they step aside.
“I will be very, very clear from now on. I am convinced that all together, we can achieve something important. We must be happy to work hard, to sweat and achieve all we can for Inter.
“It’s a wonderful adventure, I start again after a year out with a new club, new structure and great tradition behind it. Those trophies must be an incentive for us to get back where we were a few years ago.”
Juventus have won eight consecutive Serie A titles and Conte’s past with the Bianconeri did not sit well with Inter fans.
“It’ll be a very important game when we face Juve, as we are taking on the side that has won the Scudetto eight years in a row. There will be another 36 games, not just the two with Juventus, so if we are to be ambitious, we must look beyond the 90 minutes.
“It’ll be emotional to step into the Juventus Stadium. You know my history full well, including my past, so there will certainly be emotions, but once that whistle blows, Torino or Juventus become adversaries.
“There is a team that for the last eight years has been playing practically in a league of their own. This isn’t news. We must try to build. Let’s not forget for the last two years, Inter only qualified for the Champions League with the last game of the season. Nobody here has a magic wand to fix everything, so we must try to whittle down the differences.
“Again, that mustn’t be used as an alibi or a reason for us to lose heart. I came to Juventus after two seventh-place finishes and won the Scudetto. I went to Chelsea after they finished 10th and won the Premier League title.
“It takes work, on the field and in terms of mentality. What I can promise today is that the players will give their all so that we can build something for the future.
“I don’t think it’s right to make comparisons with the past, as the situations are always very different. We must give our all in every tournament, where it’s Serie A, the Champions League or Coppa Italia, aware nothing is impossible. That is our motto.
“To do something extraordinary, you need great players, but above all great men and that is our priority. We must lay the foundations to be permanent again, the way Inter were not that long ago.
“The club, directors and players will work hard to achieve our targets. My job is to share a vision with the other directors and bring in all the qualities to make Inter stronger.
“The style of the football we want is to create enthusiasm and reflect want Inter means, to ensure Inter are recognised for their identity.
Conte was asked about a possible new role for Ivan Perisic, which would make him a harder worker down the left flank, almost like Samuel Eto’o sacrificed himself as a wing-back for Jose Mourinho’s Treble-winning Inter.
“Eto’o was a striker, so I wouldn’t compare him to Perisic. In a way, Eto’o also stepped into the idea of sharing the team unity, of sacrificing the individual for the greater good. I seek players who are at my disposal, who think ‘we’ and not ‘I.’ If someone is not prepared to do that, we can move on and say goodbye, always with full respect.
“I’ve started with one tactical idea many times in my life, but then changed once I got a good idea of how the team should play.
“Looking at the current Inter squad, what stands out is the strength of their defence, so logically a three-man defence would be a good way to start. We’ll see how it goes.”