APPIANO GENTILE – Following the international break, it’s time for league action again: on Saturday at 20:45 CEST, Inter will face Udinese at the Meazza. On the eve of the game, Antonio Conte spoke to the press. This is what he had to say: “It’s always slightly different preparing for a game after the international break: the players come back on different dates and with varying fitness levels. It’s a situation that needs to be managed. In any case, it’ll be a difficult match because Udinese are an excellent side. They’re a strong and physical team and defend well. They have players with good running ability who can hit you on the break and who are good in the air too. We’re preparing in the right way. A difficult period where we’ll have to play seven matches in 23 days is coming up, and we’ll discover what point we’re at.
“These matches will not be a measure of our ambition. We need to try to do our best, taking it step by step. We’re thinking about Saturday’s game against Udinese and want to produce a good performance.” The fans are feeling very enthusiastic at the moment: “Yes, but there’s enthusiasm throughout the environment because the lads are working in the right manner, there’s the feeling that something good and important is emerging. It’s pleasing that the fans have received me in this way. I give everything when I begin to work for a new club, I fully immerse myself in the club and its history and try to pass this on to the players.
“An important foundation is being built irrespective of results. Enthusiasm shouldn’t depend on the results we achieve but the way we obtain them. It should depend on what the team manage to transmit to the fans. With today’s Inter, you can see that there’s a team and club with clear ideas. We’re trying to work to find a clearly defined tactical identity on a daily basis: when those who have played less up to this point come into the team, they’ll know exactly what they have to do. We are the team that has undergone the most change. It is inevitable that there will be a period of adjustment, but we want to turn the question marks around us into exclamation marks.”
Then a run-down of individual players: “Sanchez is a strong player, he has shown in the past the quality that he possesses. We need to help him recapture the form that he lost at Manchester United. He has to adapt to our game and that is what he is doing.” On Lukaku: “He has entered the world of Inter with great humility and has shown a real willingness. The rest of the group understood that immediately and have welcomed him in the best possible way. He has great qualities as a human and is a true team player. His fitness has improved. We hope he scores as many goals as possible for the team – he has always scored goals.”
Lazaro is also working hard on his return: “Valentino had this injury, which meant I couldn’t see him in matches of a certain level this summer. But I’m happy that he played two matches for his national team – to get some minutes under his belt. He is a very important player for us. I am happy with the squad we have assembled. There are lots of players who have room to grow and develop. That is my task, to help them improve. They are proving themselves willing.”