Antonio Conte believes he broke the Premier League “taboo” of three-man defences and relishes his Inter underdog status, but “I’d like to be in pole position.”
The coach gave a long interview with French newspaper L’Equipe and you can read the rest of it here.
After Juventus, Chelsea and now Inter, is it safe to say Conte seeks out projects in need of a revamp rather than taking on a winning team?
“No, because I’d like to sit in a Formula 1 car in pole position. I always push the car to the maximum speed it can go. In my third season at Juventus, I set a new Serie A record with 102 points.
“My history does show that I don’t start new experiences as the favourite. I inherited a Bari side that was in the drop zone and brought it to Serie A, where I also took Siena straight after their relegation.
“Juve, Chelsea and the Italy national team were all coming off delicate moments when I arrived, but I can assure you that I rejected clubs because I didn’t feel it was the right time.”
Conte came under a lot of fire for choosing Inter, the arch rivals of his Juventus.
“I think that I am a fair and honest person in every area. I believe in hard work, the spirit of sacrifice and effort. I don’t change my nature, I am not a bootlicker, I don’t try to woo people by playing sad music.
“I’ve come as far as I have in my career because of my effort and I don’t have anyone to thank other than my parents. I am a free spirit.”
Conte has become synonymous with the three-man defence, but assures it wasn’t always that way.
“It above all depends on the players at my disposal. In Serie B, I played with a 4-2-4 formation. I tried that at Juve too, but quickly went to 3-5-2 or 3-3-4, depending on the interpretation.
“That approach was unique. My staff and I have always been the subject of tactical studies. Before I arrived at Chelsea, a three-man defence in the Premier League was a taboo. Now many teams are using it.
“I try to adapt to the characteristics of the players at my disposal, make the most of their strengths and minimise their defects.”
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