Tuesday May 4 2021
De Vrij praises 'passionate and demanding' Conte

Inter defender Stefan de Vrij praised ‘passionate and demanding’ Antonio Conte, and said he feels ‘fresh and fit’ ahead of Euro 2020 with Holland.

The centre-back has helped Conte’s men lift the Scudetto this season and played 31 Serie A games in the process.

The 29-year-old said working with Conte made him ‘understand why he’s so successful’ and revealed the Nerazzurri know ‘everything about our opponents’.

“If you work with this coach, you understand why he’s so successful,” De Vrij told Algemeen Dagblad. “He’s so passionate, so demanding.

“And tactically, he’s very strong. We are prepared for every match in the smallest details. We know everything about the opponents, their way of attacking and defending.

“Conte brought an entire team with him when he joined Inter. With [Gabriele] Oriali as an assistant.

“Sometimes he tells me that he played against Cruijff in the 1970s. ‘You couldn’t defend against him’, he tells me.”

De Vrij doesn’t feel it was ‘an advantage’ to be eliminated from the Champions League and looks forward to a busy summer with Holland.

“You will never hear it from my mouth,” he said. “It was a disappointment to have been eliminated.

“I still feel fresh and fit. There are four games left and then the preparations for the European Championship.

“With our group matches at home and the fans at the Arena. I remember watching Euro 2000 in my country as a child.

“When we were eliminated by Italy in the semi-finals, I didn’t have the courage to watch the penalties.”

Despite the many games and the struggles with coronavirus, De Vrij insists he’s feeling fine.

“I have played more that 60 games since June, but I’m not tired yet,” he continued. “I had coronavirus, I lost games because of it, having flu for two days and losing taste and smell.

“Fortunately, however, I recovered.”

He also spoke about the Final of the Europa League last season, when Inter lost to Sevilla, claiming it helped the Nerazzurri’s growth.

“It was a great disappointment, but it helped us to take the next step,” he said. “Inter are consistent, solid and united.

“Last season we conceded some goals towards the end, this year it rarely happened to us. There’s always been patience, and that made a difference."