APPIANO GENTILE – Tomorrow at 20:45 CET, Inter return to the Meazza for matchday 18 of Serie A, against Juventus. On the eve of the game, Antonio Conte answered journalists’ questions in his press conference.
What kind of game can we expect?
A match between two teams who have the ambition to fight to win and achieve something important.
How important is it to do well tomorrow?
It is important to do well in every match because there are points at stake, as is always the case. Juventus must be seen a sort of benchmark because they have won a lot and have dominated in Italy in recent years.
Do you consider Juventus the favourites?
I do not want to choose a favourite, we must have respect for a team that wants to win and that has been successful in past years. Last year, we cut into the gap in terms of points and we hope to do similarly this year.
Since the home defeat last year there have been 50 matches played, has the gap been reduced?
No team has completely closed this gap. Juventus have always been a well-run club, managing to adapt and rejuvenate their squad by taking on experienced players. Once again, their squad has an excellent structure this year, if you think about Chiesa, Morata, McKennie for the midfield, Kuluseski… all credit to them: it is a great job they have done there, and they are a side that tries to make improvements every year. No team that has filled that gap yet, but it is true that many teams like Inter are working hard to improve and are getting closer than in previous years.
In what areas has the team grown? Where is there room for improvement?
We have grown a lot on the pitch, which is down to the work put in over the last year and a half. In terms of where we can improve, I could talk about mentality, competitiveness, and perhaps we could be more ruthless in some matches and kill off games better. We must and we can improve these aspects, but it is part of the journey. The lads are working hard to improve in all areas.
Could Vidal’s desire to prove himself against his former side be a risk? How should the others manage the pressure?
As regards Vidal, he has the experience to do well in this match, he’s a player that has won a lot and played for big teams. As regards the others, it’s important that they go into these kinds of matches feeling the right amount of pressure, managing it in a positive way so that it doesn’t weigh heavily on their legs and minds.
Could the experiment of playing Eriksen in a deep-lying playmaker role be repeated?
We need to make the most of the potential of the squad. We don’t have another player with Brozovic’s characteristics that can play in front of the defence, so we’re trying to get the best out of Eriksen in that role. So far, he has played in central midfield, as a trequartista behind the striker and now as a deep-lying playmaker. Having a player who can cover various midfield positions can be useful for both myself and the team.