In the eve of Inter Milan match against Napoli, Antonio Conte, coming from CL knockout disappointment, stated: “Two teams with the obligation to fight to the end and with the ambition to be protagonists, will be facing each other. It’ll be a challenging encounter, we have the same ambitions as them. This should provide us with motivation, and a yardstick from which assessments can be made.
I think that we need to work hard and seek a balance that is difficult to find. If we want to be front-runners, we have to put in the hard work. We shouldn’t get too excited when we win, nor should we get too down when we suffer setbacks. A team always has to find a balance in both the attacking and defensive phases, this is the way to go if you want to be a leading contender. We’ve also scored a lot of goals this season but have been conceding more, and this was particularly the case at the start of the season. Balance is important.
Alexis has an adductor problem and is a major doubt. Vidal suffered a grade one strain and is recovering and working well, but I think it’d be a risk to try to play him tomorrow: it could lead to him being out for another period. It’s better for him if we show patience. We’ll evaluate Hakimi during the day, out of the three he’s the one who could be available.
This season, the league is much more balanced, at least at the moment. Games against sides with the same aims are very important, not only in terms of the table but also from a psychological point of view. Every match, including against sides who aren’t in contention for trophies, is complicated: you always need to fight and sweat. All points are important, but winning against those in and around you makes you feel stronger.
It makes me smile when an obligation is talked about. There are many teams who want to be on top. They start with the aim of trying to win, but, in the end, only one does. In the last nine years, the same side has always won, which is why I smile when I hear ‘obligation’. We want to improve.
I’ve become used to the fact that anything I say or do is seen in a negative light. At the beginning of the season, I was always calm during my press conferences, but then I was accused of not being myself anymore. Now, the opposite is said about me. I guess I’ll have to find a middle ground”.