Conte: "Victories against our direct rivals help us. I'm proud of the lads' hard work"

CONTE: "VICTORIES AGAINST OUR DIRECT RIVALS HELP US. I'M PROUD OF THE LADS' HARD WORK"

The Nerazzurri Coach paid tribute to both the fans and Mauro Bellugi during his post-match comments after the #DerbyMilano on Sunday

MILAN - The sky above San Siro was tainted black and blue on Sunday afternoon following Inter’s triumph in the #DerbyMilano thanks a perfect team performance. Antonio Conte’s side ran out 3-0 winners in the 174th Serie A encounter between the two teams, with Lautaro and Lukaku both getting on the scoresheet. 

Here is what the Nerazzurri Coach had to say after the match: 

“Credit goes to the lads, they put in an extraordinary performance. We prepared really well for the game and they carried out to perfection what we’d been practising beforehand. There is great satisfaction in seeing this team’s growth and I am pleased because the lads deserve to see the fruits of their labour.” 

Is this your most enjoyable win as Inter Coach?

“I hope that even better victories are still to come. It was a marvellous match, and you can’t forget that it was a Derby between two cross-city rivals that, for the first time in a long time, are occupying the highest positions in the table. This means more pressure and responsibility. The players did really well and we’re following our path. I’m pleased because we prepared well for the match and we succeeded in making the most of the situations we worked on. We triumphed against a really strong side, we also need to pay credit to AC Milan. We want to dedicate this win to our fans. The welcome they gave us at the stadium gave us goosebumps. A thought also goes to Mauro Bellugi, whose death was a blow for all of us. We’re all thinking of his family.”

Is there a feeling that this result has shifted something in the league?

“The lads know that I fear the next two matches against Genoa and Parma because they are both really tough sides. We must demonstrate our step up in quality right up until the last day of the season. Genoa have only lost once since Ballardini’s arrival and Parma have a better squad than their results would suggest. These two matches will tell us a lot about how far we can go.”

You now have 26 players that are central to this project, with the likes of Eriksen and Perisic recently improving. Everyone seems committed and involved. Is this true?

“I think that the job of a Coach is to find all of the squad’s best elements and introduce an intended style of play. The development of Christian, Ivan and the entire squad makes me proud. We often make hasty judgments, as happened with Christian. You need patience at times, especially when a player arrives from abroad. Christian is a key member of the group and I never looked to exclude him. The same goes for Ivan, who has demonstrated great willingness this year. He gives his all to the cause and he put in a superb performance today. He has incredible potential and he must still believe in himself more.”

Had you worked on attacking the space in behind Milan’s full-backs?

“We work a lot with our attackers, wingers and midfielders, especially looking at the way our opposition defends. We study all of the situations together with our staff in order to get the best out of our players.”

Do you also study the difference between pressing high and sitting deep?

“Absolutely, we prepare the match based on the characteristics of the team we’re facing. We were always pressing high before but now we’ve improved on this and it’s paying off. Through hard work, the lads understand the right moments to switch it up. We’ve gained knowledge by doing well in matches against our closest rivals. Today’s result against a top team like AC Milan confirms our growth. We must keep improving from this point of view. The work-rate is there and it’s normal for results to help embed certain principles.”


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