Tuesday July 23 2019
Conte: Never close to Juve

Inter boss Antonio Conte insists he was never close to returning to Juventus and that he feels ‘great responsibility to bring his club to their proper level’.

Conte has made no secret of his unhappiness about Inter’s failure to sign Edin Dzeko or Romelu Lukaku, but the Coach cut a calmer figure before Wednesday’s International Champions Cup clash with Juve.

“I didn’t have to be reassured,” he said.

“The President, directors and I spoke very calmly. I think we’ll make some reflections. After that, decisions will be made for the good of Inter while taking everything into account, not only the field but also Financial Fair Play.

“Of course, decisions can also tip the balance and change expectations. Suning is bringing changes to the club, but time is needed to build a solid base and bring the club to their proper level.”

The 49-year-old was put forward as a candidate to replace Max Allegri, so how close was he to a comeback?

“No, I’ve never been close to the Juventus bench. I never received any phone calls, it was always Inter who showed great affection and interest in me.

“It’s for that reason I feel the great responsibility towards my new club, to build something that isn’t present at the moment.”

The Old Lady ultimately went for Maurizio Sarri, who replaced him at Chelsea...

“If Juve made that decision, they’ll have had good reasons. It’s not for me to judge him.

“Certainly, there will be emotion on my part. It’s the first time I’ve faced the Bianconeri as an opponent since my relationship with them ended.

“Seeing so many of my friends again will be exciting, but that will all be put to one side once the game starts. Juve are an opponent for me and Juve also consider me as such.”

The Nerazzurri, meanwhile, have been boosted by the arrivals of Diego Godin and Matias Vecino in China.

“Vecino came from an injury and is therefore working, respecting his recovery times even if we’re very close to his return.

“Godin has started training with us. They’re two excellent players and I’m happy to have them available.”

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