Antonio Conte believes the comeback to beat Milan in the Derby Della Madonnina will be a key moment in their season. “It was a special night, that’s for sure.”
The half-time team talk must’ve been spectacular, because Inter came back from 2-0 down to win 4-2 with Marcelo Brozovic, Matias Vecino, Stefan de Vrij and Romelu Lukaku goals.
Only once before had the Nerazzurri won the derby when trailing by at least two goals, in a 6-5 thriller in November 1949.
“It was a special night, that’s for sure. The first half saw us in real difficulty, perhaps more than we’ve ever been this season, and there was the risk of a hammering,” Conte told Sky Sport Italia.
“Instead, we did well to get the balance back, to understand where we had to improve, to have faith in what we were doing and the credit goes to these lads. Aside from the result, I am happy to see them resist under blows and turn it around, as that means they are preparing for something truly important.”
This result means Inter are joint top of the table with Juventus, one point in front of Lazio, with next week’s showdown at the Olimpico between the Nerazzurri and Aquile.
“It’s still very early to talk about something we can for now dream of. We can have a dream. It’s going to be a very intense period for us coming up and after that, I think we’ll have a better idea of our potential and our real capabilities.
“We must face important matches, starting from Wednesday’s Coppa Italia semi-final with Napoli, then Lazio next weekend and they have really strengthened over the years.
“We can’t achieve everything from one day to the next, but we are building. These lads proved they have great strength and guts today.”
Did Conte give them the hairdryer treatment at half-time to spark such an incredible turnaround?
“I didn’t need to talk much at half-time. I think in difficult situations, you have to be very clear and take responsibility. I had a large share of the responsibility for the fact we were losing 2-0 at half-time.
“We stayed together, from start to finish, and found our way out of a tough situation. We have to keep this evening in mind, as it will help us be a team in future and deal with similar difficulties.
“Not everyone can play a second half like that and put four goals past Milan. The lads know what we got wrong in the first half, so with humility, we made some modifications. It’s important to realise not every match can be approached the same way, it’s tactics also to realise that not pressing too high is also a good idea in some situations.
“It was an important night, as it made us understand that we must always use our heads, then the heart and finally the legs.”
Christian Eriksen was expected to start, but only replaced Alexis Sanchez after Inter had gone 3-2 up.
“Both Ashley Young and Victor Moses, because they are wing-backs, don’t need quite so much guidance in training. Plus Moses already played with me at Chelsea.
“For midfielders, it’s more complicated, as I always ask something pre-planned and memorised for both attacking and defending moves. Christian knows football well, he reads it, but also is not quite at 100 per cent fitness.
“I had thought about using Eriksen behind Lukaku, but then decided not to transform things too much, as it’s important for us to play with the two strikers.
“Eriksen also had this issue dragging on with Tottenham, coming and going, so that takes a lot out of you. I’ve been a player, I know, it’ll take him a little while to settle.”
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