Antonio Conte has held his pre-match press conference in the press room at Inter’s Angelo Moratti Sports Centre training ground ahead of tomorrow night’s encounter with Udinese.
“It will be a difficult match. Udinese are a great team, they are physical, defend well and have very strong runners in their team. We will have to pay close attention to Kevin Lasagna and to the quality of others like Ignacio Pussetto, Ilija Nestorovski and Rodrigo De Paul,” he began.
Inter face seven games in the next 23 days but Conte insists that he and the team need to take each game as it comes.
“We have so many challenging matches ahead, including the first match in the Champions League and face opponents like Barcelona. It is not a question of measuring ambitions, it is a question of doing our best. After these matches we will see where we are.
“Let’s concentrate on one match at a time though. We want to put in a good performance against Udinese and continue to maintain this enthusiasm that has been created. The team is working in the right way and something important is being created.”
Next he discussed the welcome he has received since his arrival at the club over the Summer.
“I am pleased that the fans have welcomed me like this but I have always said that I am in this for better or for worse. I give all of myself when I start working for a new club. I totally integrate into the club and in the history of the club and I try to transfer this also to the players.”
Conte was then asked what, if anything, he is expecting to see from Alexis Sanchez.
“We are talking about a strong player. He is a player who has shown all the qualities he has in the past. Let’s not forget that in the past he has won a lot, playing in important clubs like Barcelona, Arsenal and Manchester United. He did very well for Udinese.
“We need to get him back to the level that he has lost in the last two years. For many reasons he has not shown his true value but I know from speaking to him that there is great willingness on his part. He has started understand our tactical ideas having trained with us this week as well as the intensity that I want to see in the game. He will give us a big hand.”
The former Italian national team coach then spoke on Romelu Lukaku’s start to life in Nerazzurri as well as Lautaro Martinez.
“Romelu has started at Inter in the best possible way, with humility, complete availability and a smile. The grou immediately understood what he is about and welcomed him in the best way. In addition to having important footballing qualities, he also has human qualities.
“He is a good boy who makes himself available to the team. During the game he does not have to score. His first though is doing things for the good of the team. He is an important player for us.
“He is working hard and he has improved in terms of physical fitness. We hope that besides playing for the team he can score many goals. He has always scored them in the past and I don’t see why he shouldn’t do the same at Inter.
“Could he outscore Cristiano Ronaldo? Ronaldo, together with Lionel Messi, is the best in the world. Romelu must work and do his best for the team and at the end of the season we will see how many goals he will score. Goals come as a result of playing for the team.
“Lautaro Martinez, even if he does not have the same figure, has similar characteristics. He is a modern footballer and can play in a partnership with Romelu or someone else.”
Reports have stated Valentino Lazaro and Cristiano Biraghi could make their first appearances and Conte spoke on each of the players situations.
“Valentino has had an injury which unfortunately did not give me the opportunity to see him in many matches but I was happy that he played two matches for the national team because he now has minutes in his legs.
“We have signed him to play at wing back but I still have to test him out in a competitive match. He is working hard and has come from a league that is a lot less tactical than ours.
“As for Biraghi it is easier because he grew up in this league. He has big potential but I have to be good at making them grow. They are making themselves available and this is the most important thing.”
He concluded by speaking on whether he thought his side would get off to the start in the league that they have.
“The start has been good because we have six points despite some injuries at the start. We feel the enthusiasm around us and this is good, but as I said this enthusiasm must be due to the fact that our fans are seeing that we are are laying important foundations to build something important beyond the result.
“You can win, draw or lose but the enthusiasm must not depend on the result but what is transmitted to the fans and what we are trying to do here with great clarity. We have seven games waiting for us in quick succession and we will have to test all the players in the squad and see if everyone has reached an optimal level from a tactical and physical point of view.”