Antonio Conte feels the win at Sampdoria when down to 10 men “fortified” Inter further. “That would’ve killed any team, but not us. I seem to set the fashion in tactics.”
The Nerazzurri have won their opening six games of the Serie A season, something only Helenio Herrera had achieved in 1966-67.
They came away from Marassi with a 3-1 victory over Samp, despite going down to 10 men at the dawn of the second half, as Alexis Sanchez received a second yellow card for simulation.
“I am satisfied with the victory. These are games that when you play with this clarity of ideas, with this many chances, you need to kill them off,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.
“It’s remarkable it was only 2-0 at half-time and we left it open for the imponderable at the start of the second half. That could’ve killed any team, but not us, not these lads.
“They were exceptional to hold out, we did well to bring on players from the bench to keep the balance with a battle. We scored a third goal, could’ve had more, so I’m happy.
“It just shows you how quickly games can change. We were about to go 3-0 up, but instead we went a man down and moments later Sampdoria scored.
“We were lucky. These are particular situations, you have to be careful when you get an early yellow card. Last time, I took Barella off against Udinese to avoid risks because he was on a card. You can do that in some situations, but not in others, all a Coach can do is urge them to be careful.
“It’s more valuable experience and can help us to mature.”
In a way, Alexis Sanchez getting himself sent off made it a more impressive victory for Inter and was a bigger test of the mentality that had been so sorely lacking in previous years.
“I can only be happy with the way the lads interpreted the game. I’ve been a player, I know that when you are dominating a game and suddenly everything changes, you can crumble.
“That didn’t happen. They showed they are on the right track in terms of mentality, as we continued to attack when we had the chance and scored a third goal, could’ve had a fourth with Romelu Lukaku.
“Fortunately, the way it finished, I can look at the glass half full. I’d prefer a more relaxed match on an emotional level, as we absolutely dominated the first half and were in complete control.
“Finding ourselves in that situation and emerging with a victory fortifies us. It helps us realise we can consolidate success and continue playing our football even when down to 10 men. Having said that, I’d have preferred not to be in that situation at all.
“Now we have to press the reset button, focus on Barcelona at Camp Nou, a game that certainly isn’t lacking in motivation.”
Conte was encouraged by the fact Inter never lost their heads and continued to stick to the tactical plan.
“My football has always been organised, we have an idea and work hard on various situations. I am convinced we played well in other games too, but today we did it extremely well in the first half. We need to do that more often with that level of consistency.
“All our performances this season have shown a degree of quality and organisation, but mentality makes the difference and you need that to get out of tricky situations.
“I am a Coach who always gives a precise idea of football to his team. I seem to set the fashion, because when I went to England, nobody played with three at the back, then even the England team started playing that way. I come back to Italy and we’re seeing more teams with three-man defences.”
Alexis Sanchez is suspended for next week’s top of the table showdown with Juventus, but Inter are two points clear.
“Juventus won eight Serie A titles in a row, often winning hands down. They are a solid team in every sense. We are glad to go into the head-to-head with 18 points under our belts and continue to take it one game at a time.”