It was a cold night in Milan, it was Christmas Eve and Antonio Conte awoke from his slumber feeling the freeze.
He was not interested about the festive season, instead he bemoaned conceding against Hellas. He should have been happy, his team had won, but instead he had told the press Europe was gone. Now he made it clear that they had to fight all the way to the end of the Serie A season in a very good way.
That night Antonio went to bed in a very Conte type of mood, it was bah humbug indeed, time to brood.
Conte was stirring in bed, he was thinking about another seasoned professional that he could bring to his team in January but then he heard something.
There was the clinking of wine glasses, women’s laughter and then the roar of a crowd. He awoke and standing over him was the ghost of Giuseppe Meazza. ‘Giuseppe?’ Conte said confused, ‘What are you doing here?’ Meazza replied that he was here to make Conte realise why he should be happy.
‘You have to enjoy yourself Antonio,’ Meazza said, ‘You have saved Inter from their annual winter of discontent. From Roberto Mancini to Luciano Spalletti, you have to see, that in December there were no victories.
Instead, you have a team that is winning each game, it may not be pretty but the results are the same.
Stop finding problems and bring some fun, it will resonate to the team and they will get the job done. Take the lighter approach, you have achieved a great deal and approach the Scudetto with happiness and zeal’. With that, Meazza was gone and Conte returned to sleep.
The noise of boots on the tunnel floor awakened Conte and he was amazed to see the ghost of Giacinto Facchetti standing over him.
‘What do you want?’ asked Conte. Facchetti looked at him sternly and said. ‘In do not like your attitude Conte, it does not bode well, you fight with the club and it’s unprofessional.
January is approaching and another transfer window, I concerned you will argue like you did when you signed Vidal. You have to conduct yourself with professionalism and class, you may not want Eriksen but don’t not treat him like trash.
Look at me and look at Zanetti, there is a way you conduct yourself we learned that from Moratti’. Conte was shocked by the words, as he was aware that the coming window would be a difficult one and he would have to be at one with the club to achieve his goals. Facchetti had gone and Conte went back to sleep.
The smell of cigar smoke woke Conte a third time. He awoke to the thunderous voice of Helenio Herrera. ‘Get up’, Antonio, not one to be told what to do, felt in awe, he did what he was told he was silent.
Then Helenio spoke. ‘It is May, now look at the table, Milan have won because you were not able. Juventus gave you a chance to win the Scudetto but you were too rigid and inflexible to do so.
Your plan B was appalling as it looked like plan A, you just bypassed the midfield and played the same way. Now I was a man, for discipline and structure but I let the creative players enjoy themselves and planned for the future.
Your stubbornness is a strength but also a weakness, this is why in May you will be not liked by Inter.’ With these words Conte was terrified and shouted ‘No, Helenio, what can I do to stop this’.
Herrera turned to him and bellowed, ‘For you to win the Scudetto in May, you must use a new system to beat the big teams, home and away, you must resolve the situation that revolves around Eriksen and to it with class and a touch of elegance, finally you must work to sign players like Hakimi and not just persist with players like Vidal and Gagliardini.
If you do all of these things then you may win the Scudetto, or if not you will be leaving Milan from the station at lotto.