Tomorrow at 20:45 CET Inter take on Parma in matchday 25 of Serie A. On the eve of the match against Roberto D’Aversa’s team, Antonio Conte answered journalists’ questions at his press conference today.
What kind of match are you expecting tomorrow?
We are expecting a difficult match because in the last year and a half Parma have created some difficulties for us, we have won once and drawn the other two matches. We come up against a team that are in a poor position in the table at the moment, but they also have elements of experience, technical players, players of quality and a good coach, so we will need to be careful and play in the right way. We will have to be good and very careful in the offensive phase also because they have good and quick players who can do us harm on the counter attack.
You’re leading the way in the table. In what areas do inter still need to improve?
In the design phase we could and should be more effective and determined because we create several scoring opportunities with the whole team, and we have to be more precise and try to take advantage of all situations and be more clinical in front of goal.
Have the team also improved in managing the pressure? Can playing these two games after the others be an extra difficulty?
The team has grown but the pressures will increase from now until the end. Compared to last year, we are in a different situation, now we are in the lead so from here until the end the pressures will increase, and we should manage them in the best way by demonstrating that we have reached that maturity to achieve success.
How is the condition of Vidal?
Arturo is trying to give consistency in training, he has had some problems since he arrived. He is a generous guy who has never wanted to stop and has always made his experience available to the team, and we thank him for this, but it is also right that he can reach his best physical condition and he is working on it, he is available.
Compared to twelve months ago, what has allowed you to make that jump in quality?
There is a fact that is different from last year, which is that this year in the league we beat the team that won it for nine consecutive years. I think this is important because last year they beat us in the first round and in the return. That victory gave us self-esteem, more awareness in our means, for the last year and a half the team has grown as individuals, in organization, in mentality, desire and determination. That said, there are 14 games to go and we will have to show that we have grown entirely, and we can only do this by winning.
Inter are performing at a crazy level, do you want to maintain this momentum going forward or do they need to turn it up even more until the end of the season?
In the Italian league it’s difficult not to lose points, every game has hidden dangers and difficulties, and of course there are lots of high quality players. We will have to carry on playing at a high level, every match has to be like a final for us, it’s inevitable that the closer we get to the finish line, the more obstacles will come into play, including psychological issues, like pressure and mindset and we have to show that we have made a step forward.
How did you manage to get Alexis back to his best?
He is now in the best psychophysical condition that he’s been in since his arrival at Inter. Patience was necessary from both parties but right now, he’s the best that he has been as a Nerazzurri player. I am starting to see some glimmers of the old Alexis and he deserves the credit for this. He knows that there are two players ahead of him who are performing very well, in the shape of Lautaro and Lukaku, but they are also aware that just behind them is a player who is pushing for the top spot and who could give us an important added edge from now until the end of the season.
Are there any warning signs?
Experience tells me not to look beyond the next game, for us the next match against Parma is the most important thing, we have to win it fully aware of the difficulties that we face. I am not interested in making calculations, everyone has to play with the same level of intensity and attention, if there were warning signs about someone then I’d pick a different player – I have great faith in the whole team.
You moved the ball around better a few games ago compared to today. Do you think that this is due to having a double playmaker or is this ideal for the players?
We always try to move the ball around quickly, but it depends on the match. We have also played excellently in games in the past, if we are here now it is not because of the last three or four games but because we’ve performed well over a long timeframe. The difference might be in the fact that we’re scoring less goals, maybe we are less unbalanced.
(Photo Getty Images)