Antonio Conte saw “an important response” to Inter’s Champions League defeat, as they fought back to beat Verona. “We’re going beyond the rosiest expectations.”
The Nerazzurri threw away a 2-0 lead away to Borussia Dortmund midweek to lose 3-2, but in Serie A managed to turn around a Valerio Verre penalty to beat Hellas Verona 2-1 at San Siro.
“I saw an important response to the game in Dortmund, despite the fact we went behind and faced an uphill struggle against a team that man-marks,” Conte told Sky Sport Italia.
“It was a great situation for them, as they could defend and counter. We did very, very well not to lose our patience, to keep faith and not lose our heads when turning this around. We rebelled against the result and the situation.
“These lads are doing something truly important, as 31 points in 12 games is a good tally to have in our pockets. I don’t think anyone’s rosiest expectations had us with those results at this stage.
“I thank the players, as once again they threw themselves into this and overcame every obstacle. If we had not played with heart and intensity, we would not have won the game.”
Conte kept bringing the conversation back to the Champions League setback in Germany.
“The disappointment in Dortmund was very painful, as we had the game in hand, but that is part of the maturation process and this response was what I wanted to see.
“We’ve had two completely different games over the last few days. Dortmund push you high and we had gone in front there. Here, it was an uphill struggle from the start, three against seven, so we had to get everyone to spread the ball and spread their defence.
“Alessandro Bastoni made a big difference today, as he became practically an additional midfielder and that made it difficult for their man-marking approach, as he got to the edge of the box. He nearly scored too, forcing a tough save.
“After the disappointment of Dortmund, going down here could’ve killed us, but we fought back and must continue like this. Our fans also pushed us on to the end, as they could tell we wanted to win it at all costs.
“I also want to dedicate the victory to my daughter, Vittoria, who turns 12 today. Fortunately, I will be a little more relaxed at her birthday party with the rest of the family tonight and can experience it all with more joy.
“Last time, we went into the break for international duty off a defeat, so this time we go off aware that we are on the right track.”