Conte: “It's the vital stage of the season, we're focusing on the present”


The Inter coach speaks ahead of Inter vs. Cagliari | VIDEO

MILAN – After the win in the rearranged matchday 28 fixture, Inter are preparing to host Cagliari at the Meazza for the game on Sunday 11 April at 12:30 CEST. On the eve of the clash, Antonio Conte gave his press conference, in which he responded to questions from journalists.

Cagliari have a good squad that doesn’t deserve to be where it is and have a lot to play for tomorrow. What kind of game are you expecting?
Looking at the players Cagliari have, it’s surprising to see them that low in the table. We’re expecting a difficult game because Cagliari will want to give it everything in the relegation battle. Of course, they will have had other objectives this year and now they’re in a bit of danger, which is a surprise because they have a competitive squad.

What will we see from Inter tomorrow?
You’ll see our game plan tomorrow and what we’ve worked on.

Could it be a chance to rest some players and give minutes to others?
We’re coming into a vital stage of the season. It’s our third game in seven days and I will try to make the best choices to play a competitive team, which can go out and win. We had two hard-fought games against Bologna and Sassuolo but we’re ready; the team is doing well and we’ll try to play well and take all three points.

You’re coming up against Nainggolan tomorrow. Is it a shame not to have done the same with him as you did with Perisic and Eriksen?
I want to thank Radja for the time that he was with us, in which I had the chance to coach him. Then, the choices were made but we need to think about the present. It will be nice to see him again but we’ll need to watch out for him because players often give that little bit extra against their former teams.

What do you think about the debate following your comments about the gym?
I’m thinking about the present, as I always do, and am trying to do something extraordinary. We need to continue to concentrate on this and I think that the people talking about Inter need to as well because it makes no sense to just speak about the future. You just need to focus on the present and give the lads praise for what they’re doing.

You won the league in your first season with Juventus, kicking off an incredible cycle. With Chelsea, you won the Premier League in your first season. How would you judge the job done here to what you did elsewhere?
In any case, we haven’t done anything yet. We’ve brought an aura back to Inter, who are now considered a hostile team both in Italy and in Europe, given that we reached the Europa League final last season, the best result of any Italian team in the competition in recent years. Now, we just need to make that final step, which is the most important. We hope to make it but we know that disappointment may be just around the corner. My experience tells me to think about the present and enjoy it because we just need to shut up and keep pedalling before talking about doing big things in the future. We’re not making any wild proclamations because we’ve won any trophies yet.

What does this team need to be most aware of?
Not giving the opposition too much space. Any slight slip-up can gift chances to the teams behind. I have overturned leads and I’ve had leads overturned, so the most important thing you can do is to keep winning because, sooner or later, the chasing pack will give up.

What has been the most difficult thing and what was been the most satisfying of your two years with Inter?
Coming to Inter was the most difficult choice I could make for every reason, but I’m not one to stay in my comfort zone. I never live in the past and I never give up. I like to get myself in the game and that happened with Inter. I had and have things to lose but I have a hard head, I am ready to break down those mental walls too.

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