Sunday April 18 2021
Hakimi ‘thankful’ to Conte

Achraf Hakimi is ‘thankful’ to Antonio Conte, but insists the Serie A title is not in Inter’s pocket yet.

Hakimi joined Inter in a €40m move from Real Madrid last summer. Conte has used him as a wide midfielder in his 3-5-2 system, and the former Borussia Dortmund loanee has also been tasked with defensive duties.

“I have had to improve and change some things, but also for my own good above all on the defensive side of the game,” the Morocco international told The Athletic.

“We worked on things like concentration, positioning, some basic aspects but also the not-so-basic like when I need to come out of the line, what I need to do in different situations. Especially when we are playing with a line of five. It is not that I am a winger, I am still a full-back. That has helped me and I am thankful to Conte for helping me to improve,” he added.

“Conte does not give you loads of instructions, but he does work a lot on tactical elements.

“As I was new he wanted to polish that aspect so that I could adapt as quickly as possible to the team and the style of play he wanted, so we have worked quite a lot on that.”

Inter face Napoli at the Stadio Maradona this evening. They have an 11-point lead over second-placed Milan and 13 points in the last nine games of the season would be enough for the Nerazzurrri to win their first Serie A title in 11 years.

“We know the lead we have, but we have to think game by game. There are still plenty to play,” Hakimi warned.

“We want to defend this lead as it is a nice opportunity to win something we have been waiting many years for, and the fans are waiting for. Hopefully, at the end of the season, we can do it.”