APPIANO GENTILE - A special press conference was held ahead of Inter vs. Sampdoria on matchday 35 in Serie A (at San Siro on Saturday at 18:00 CEST). Antonio Conte’s staff were present to answer questions from journalists; the Coach’s assistants have been pivotal in Inter winning their 19th Scudetto.
Here are the words of Cristian Stellini (Assistant Coach), Gianuca Conte (Technical Coach), Paolo Vanoli (Technical Coach), Antonio Pintus (Fitness Coach), Costantino Coratti (Fitness Coach), Stefano Bruno (Fitness Coach), Adriano Bonaiuti (Goalkeeping Coach).
CRISTIAN STELLINI (Assistant Coach)
“Winning this Scudetto is massively emotional. It’s a great reward after all the sacrifices made in this tough time for everyone. Unfortunately, we weren’t together when the title was confirmed, but there was an outpouring of joy when the final whistle went in Atalanta vs. Sassuolo.
“I’ve always been an Inter fan, ever since I was a kid. I was born and grew up in these areas and have always been an Interista. Conte knew this, so coming to Inter was really emotional for me; I was overwhelmed with joy. My initial worry was not only conveying to the Coach what being an Interista meant but also conveying what working with Antonio Conte would be like for everyone at Inter. The Club needed a winning coach, they hadn’t won for many years – that was the most important bit of work at the beginning.
“The objective was far off. We knew that this is where we wanted to end up and everything we did was in light of that. Conte is brilliant in that regard and he imparts it to everyone around him. He brings you closer to your goal.
“Eriksen’s development is one that many players go through after they arrive from a foreign league. They need time to understand some of the aspects of how we play, of how we live, in Italy. A bit of time is necessary and we always supported him with advice, individual meetings and lots of work… We knew that his time would come sooner or later. We knew that he would make his contribution within this well-oiled machine.
“I had to replace the Coach in the dugout for a few games this season. When you direct a game from the touchline, the pressure increases. I had to impart what the Coach wanted during the game. He usually does this in a clear manner during the 90 minutes, his absence could’ve been a problem.”
GIANLUCA CONTE (Technical Coach)
“You never get used to titles, it’s as though it were the first time. I have to say that, on the part of the staff and players, there’s always been the utmost availability. This win if dedicated to the fans and to the Club, but the players really made a lot of sacrifices to reach this objective. The Coach has implemented a fantastic working environment.
“I’ve been working with Antonio for 13 years and I’m used to the way he experiences a game. In the stands against Fiorentina, there was a contentious moment and he grabbed the microphone off me. He is passionate. We know full well that he would go out and play with the boys if he could – he’s a caged lion. This passion defines him and he tries to impart it.
“It was hard-fought but a bit victory. All titles have great work behind them. Antonio is a perfectionist, he always strives for excellence and everyone at the Club is doing their utmost.
“Preparation for a game is an important aspect, the match analysts give is a great hand. They find the right footage for us to study and then employ the best tactics.”
PAOLO VANOLI (Technical Coach)
“I’ve always lived 18km from Appiano Gentile and have been an Interista since I was little. Working at Inter and winning a Scudetto has been my dream since I was a kid, as well as an immense source of pride. The players have been great and the Coach has been great.
“The beauty of this job is the debate. There’s always some discussion between the members of the coaching staff. My job is to follow the defensive phase: what I need to do is improve the individuals. It’s not easy to play three at the back, there are a lot of concepts to internalise. Our job is to coach them all in the same manner. The greatest satisfaction has come when players who maybe haven't played as much have come in and done really well. I’m talking about Ranocchia, Kolarov and plenty of others.”
ANTONIO PINTUS (Fitness Coach)
"This extraordinary triumph is really exciting, it’s a victory I associate with the birth of my two twins in Como. It’s thrilling to see the work that our players put in: they’ve given 100% for the Coach and for us.
“The foundations of this success were already put in place last season. We adhered to the pace that the Coach wanted and used the lockdown period to train from home, working every two days via zoom. At this time, we were trying to keep the players in shape, despite the fact they were training in their living rooms. After lockdown, we focused on getting up to speed rather than carrying out thorough preparations. We tried to tried to make the most of opportunities to work with the players individually, including after matches. I’d like to thank them: they always showed willingness, even during sessions held at 23:00 after games. It’s not easy to train at that time. It was a team effort that involved collaboration with all areas: with the medical staff, the nutritionist, with everyone.
“Lukaku? He has an excellent physical prowess: he possesses 100 kg of muscle and impressive power. As the Coach has said, Romelu is similar to an American football player. His strength endurance has improved and, in my opinion, he’s becoming a complete athlete. But all the other guys have made great strides forward in this respect.
“The role of the fitness coach has evolved over the years, but the typical foundations remain: endurance, speed, strength. It’s not right to say that what was done 20 years ago shouldn’t be done today. Certainly, there has been a change at the level of specialisation. Tasks are divided up: Coratti focuses on strength, Bruno on recovery. The more energy the staff show, the easier it is to take care of the aspects relating to physical training down to the smallest detail.”
COSTANTINO CORATTI (Fitness Coach)
“It’s difficult to find the words to describe just how I’m feeling right now. I’d like to thank everybody, especially the Coach and the lads, all of whom have allowed to me experience this triumph and these strong and incredible feelings.
“There wasn’t a particular moment that led us to achieving these excellent results; rather, it was down to our daily work and the desire to improve every day. The fact that there wasn’t a period that we could dedicate to the athletic side of things meant we had to find moments to work on fitness. Our aim was to be as accurate and efficient as possible.”
STEFANO BRUNO (Fitness Coach)
“Describing the feeling of winning the league isn’t easy. For me, it’s been fantastic because I’ve been an Inter fan since I was a child. I arrived here last year and have been on a long journey to reach this point. When you understand what is behind a victory, it makes you only more aware of what you’ve achieved. The credit goes to everyone who works at the Club because a lot of sacrifice is needed to win. When you’re a part of it, you realise how much of this is required. I still haven’t fully comprehended everything.
“I started my career at the same time as the Coach: it was 2007, he was at Arezzo and I was at Livorno. Then, we were together at Bari, where we were still in the early coaching stages. He had to begin to go down his own path and wanted to be successful. He needed to try certain things to understand how he could achieve his objectives. Today, Antonio Conte isn’t the same person as he was 13 years ago in certain respects, but hard work has been a constant for him, and he’s always worked to achieve a single result. Now, his experience has led him to understand many things. In terms of injury prevention, there’s a whole lot involved: the daily work done on the pitch, what is done at home, how the players sleep, what they eat. All of these pieces put together lead to results over the course of the season.”
ADRIANO BONAIUTI (Goalkeeping Coach)
“It’s fantastic because we’ve achieved an incredible goal after years without success. This is thanks to the Coach, who transmitted a winning mentality. For those who play football, winning the Scudetto is amazing and the feeling of happiness is immense. It makes us recall the journey we’ve been on to achieve this: there’s been so much sacrifice and work both on and off the pitch, so being able to share this with the fans is wonderful.
“It’s been a long journey because the results weren’t there previously. On a personal level, Samir’s numbers have been excellent over the years, but winning is different. It crowns what has he done in the past few years and allows you to look back and say that the work you’ve done on the pitch has led to a great objective being achieved.”
PAOLO CASTELLI (Goalkeeping Coach)
“I’m feeling immense joy because I’ve had the fortune to experience the world of Inter as a youngster in the Club’s youth sector, as a fan in the stadium and as a coach in the Elite Academy. Now, I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy this experience with top-level staff, so I’d like to thank everybody.
“I’d also like to thank Adriano in particular because he’s always supported me and made my work much easier. Working with such high-quality goalkeepers and a coach like Adriano (Bonaiuti, ed.) has been a fantastic experience. It’s been fantastic to see how they strive for perfection during training: at this level, you work on the details. I’ve had the fortune to experience this firsthand. I’d like to thank Adriano for his support when he was away and when I accompanied him during the lads’ preparations.”