On the eve of their next match in the Champions League, Antonio Conte sat down alongside Arturo Vidal to meet with the press ahead of Real Madrid vs. Inter, scheduled for Tuesday at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium in Valdebebas, Madrid. Here are the Nerazzurri coach’s thoughts in response to questions from journalists.
How is Alexis Sanchez? Will he start or is it better to be careful?
"Sanchez returned to training today with the team".
How do you solve the problem of being more efficient in front of goal?
"That's a difficult question. You have to keep working hard in training, you have to keep creating chances, have a lot of shots, and do better in the penalty area. I talked about ruthlessness; it is not only for the forwards but for everyone. Last year we scored a lot of goals, 113, and we started this season the same way. However, the proportion between what we create and what we score is unbalanced. We score a lot of goals, but we could score even more. We are bringing all the players together to be involved in the offensive phase during training".
In terms of getting out of the group stage, this match against Real Madrid is almost already decisive...
"In every match you have to try to get points. You do not always manage to take home three points, either because of your opponent's skill or you are in games like those against Shakhtar and Borussia in which you deserved more but you came out with a draw. Real Madrid is a strong team that is built to win this competition. It has players who have won this cup several times. We know we are facing a team that is coming off of a strange defeat with Shakhtar and came back to get a draw with Borussia. We will have to try our best: if we do our best, we can take away some satisfaction. We come here to play our game; we will not put ourselves in a corner like a boxer who defends himself looking for a single shot for the K.O. We will play the game without fear towards anyone, imposing our qualities".
Would you like to coach Real Madrid in the future?
"Right now, I am really very focused on Inter, I started a project here with a very strong ownership and I am happy. We are creating something important. In the past, it's true, there was the opportunity to become the Real Madrid coach, but perhaps it wasn’t the right time. I want to continue the project here at Inter".
How close were you really to coaching Real Madrid?
"Of course, there have been a couple of moments in the past when I was very close to coaching Real Madrid. The season had already started, it would have been difficult to take over, the club had already made a schedule and in a very sincere way I preferred to postpone it".
What was your relationship with Zidane like when he was your partner at Juventus?
"For me, I've exceptional memories. From a football point of view everyone knows his skills. But Zizou is an exceptional guy, I have incredibly good memories with him. A talented player sometimes tries to avoid fatigue; instead, he was always leading from the front, proving that if you add talent to hard work you can get where he is. I understood that he wanted to be a coach when I had dinner with him in Turin, when I was coach of Juventus. He asked me several questions and I understood where he wanted to go".
(Photo Getty Images)