Serie A: Antonio Conte says complaints about thin squad justified after tough win for Inter Milan

Inter Milan are three points behind leaders Juventus as they bid to end the Turin side’s run of eight consecutive titles

Reuters February 03, 2020 19:07:19 IST
Serie A: Antonio Conte says complaints about thin squad justified after tough win for Inter Milan
  • Conte got away with his public criticism and was given what he wanted with several reinforcements arriving in the January transfer window

  • Inter have spent around 180 million euros in the transfer market since Conte arrived, including a reported 80 million euros on Romelu Lukaku who has repaid the investment with 16 league goals

  • The arrival in January of Victor Moses, Christian Eriksen and Ashley Young, all from Premier League clubs, has taken a weight off Conte's mind

Milan: Few coaches would have dared challenge the club leadership as Antonio Conte did this season when he complained that Inter Milan had made “important mistakes” in planning, leaving him with a wafer-thin squad.

Serie A Antonio Conte says complaints about thin squad justified after tough win for Inter Milan

Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte in a file photo. AP

But not only did the famously combative Conte - who had only been in charge for five months at the time - get away with his public criticism, he was also given what he wanted with several reinforcements arriving in the January transfer window.

After watching his side win 2-0 at Udinese on Sunday to maintain their Serie A title challenge, Conte said his haranguing of the Inter board had paid off.

“A club like Inter must also have a strong substitutes’ bench,” said Conte, whose side stayed three points behind leaders Juventus as they bid to end the Turin side’s run of eight consecutive titles.

“When you have more quality within the squad, it allows you to find more solutions.”

Playing away to teams such as Udinese was exactly the sort of match in which he needed more options, Conte added.

“You always find difficulties here in Udine, where they are good at closing down and then breaking. Putting more quality in the squad helps unravel these situations. The victory was deserved, even if it was complicated.”

Inter have spent around 180 million euros ($199 million) in the transfer market since Conte arrived, including a reported club record 80 million euros on striker Romelu Lukaku who has repaid the investment with 16 Serie A goals.

However, a series of injuries and suspensions, plus a crowded fixture list, left Conte short of options between September and December. The coach also complained he lacked proven winners.

But the arrival in January of Victor Moses, Christian Eriksen and Ashley Young, all from Premier League clubs, has taken a weight off his mind.

Moses and Eriksen made their Serie A debuts against Udinese and, although the Dane struggled to make an impact, Conte was not concerned.

“Eriksen arrived five days ago and we were forced to rush him into the team,” said Conte.

“I think he’s entered in a positive way, it’s a new way of playing for him but he’s still got to get into our idea of playing. He’s a great player, he has to find the right pace, but I’m satisfied with his performance.

Conte said he now had the right blend of youth and experience.

“In our staring line-up, we had a lad of 20 years old (central defender Alessadnro Bastoni) and one of 17 (forward Sebastiano Esposito),” said Conte. “We are working for the present and the future.”

Updated Date:

Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro at ₹499 for the first year. Use code PRO499. Limited period offer. *T&C apply

also read

European football weekend: Massive Madrid derby, 'Klassiker' in Germany, Inter look to extend Serie A lead
Sports

European football weekend: Massive Madrid derby, 'Klassiker' in Germany, Inter look to extend Serie A lead

LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid have an opportunity to deal a hammer blow to their city rivals' attempts to retain their league title as they host Real Madrid in a potentially decisive Madrid derby.

Serie A: Franck Kessie scores last-minute penalty to steal draw for AC Milan against Udinese; Atalanta beat Crotone
Sports

Serie A: Franck Kessie scores last-minute penalty to steal draw for AC Milan against Udinese; Atalanta beat Crotone

Rodrigo Becao's second-half header at the San Siro completely deceived Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and Stefano Pioli's faltering side looked destined for a third defeat in four games.

Serie A: Cristiano Ronaldo scores but Juventus held to 1-1 in Verona, remain third
Sports

Serie A: Cristiano Ronaldo scores but Juventus held to 1-1 in Verona, remain third

The draw gives leaders Inter Milan the chance to pull 10 points clear of Juventus when they play mid-table Genoa at the San Siro on Sunday.