Sunday February 28 2021
Conte sees Inter continuation

Antonio Conte sees Inter’s current leadership as a continuation of the work he began last season, which was ‘already an enormous step forward’ for the club. ‘It has been many years since Inter won.’

The Nerazzurri broke through within 32 seconds against Genoa thanks to Romelu Lukaku, but had to wait until much later to make the dominance count with Matteo Darmian and Alexis Sanchez.

This victory allows them to go 10 points clear of Juventus and seven points away from Milan, although both have a game in hand.

“I will watch Roma-Milan tonight, as football is my passion, so I’ll certainly be in front of the TV for that,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“We played against a Genoa side in great shape who I think had earned just one fewer point than we did in this period.

“We had the right approach, allowing Genoa little other than a few crosses. We scored three goals, Mattia Perin had to make several big saves, so we are happy.

“All the work is paying off, it had already started to last year, but the team is developing belief in its capabilities, understanding the situations both on and off the ball, when to be aggressive, when to hold possession.

“We know there are 14 games to go. As I said, facing Genoa and Parma seems easy on paper, but we have to prove that we are a team who always have our ears pricked for danger, not just in the big games, so we can give the Inter fans the joy they deserve.”

It has been said Inter can only focus on Serie A because they crashed out of Europe in the group stage, then lost the Coppa Italia semi-final to Juventus. Did the squad make a Scudetto pact once those eliminations occurred?

“There has not been any Scudetto pact. These are Inter players, they must always have the ambition to win. It has been many years since Inter won anything, we came very close last season, despite the fact it was my first year.

“I think we went out of the Champions League undeservedly, but that made us look inside ourselves and realise we all had to raise the bar, to be more competitive.

“If we had been in the Champions League right now, I think we could’ve had our say in that tournament.”

Conte reiterated the advances Inter have made under his guidance since replacing Luciano Spalletti in 2019.

“In previous years, the gap with Juventus was a good 15 points for Inter. So if we want to be objective and calculate the gap from the leaders and Inter before I arrived, last season was already an enormous step forward.

“I think we simply continued the project and we are doing something important, but there are 14 games to go. We have to continue like this, knowing the team has grown in every way, that we created wonderful synergy and empathy between everyone here, but winning is the aim.”

While Inter are top of the Serie A table, the club’s owners Suning are struggling financially and put the side up for sale.

“A club like Inter, out of respect for the fans and history, has to concentrate on the field. Besides, all I can do is focus on what I can influence. The same goes for the players. There’s no point wasting time and energy on things we cannot influence.”

Conte was asked if he will rotate the squad against Parma midweek, seeing as Atalanta are coming up after that?

“There are four days between the games, so we have the time to recover. We have the utmost respect for Parma, coached by my friend Roberto D’Aversa, so we have to take it one match at a time.”