Former Inter striker Alessandro Altobelli discussed the title race this season between the Nerazzurri and Juventus in an interview in today’s paper edition of the Rome based newspaper Corriere dello Sport.
“At the beginning of the season, when Inter acquired Conte, Lukaku, Sensi, Barella and Godin, I thought the team had been completed. Plus, Lautaro exploded and he’s a super striker. I thought the gap with Juve, and Napoli had been reduced, but I had no idea that it could have been closed. If I’m honest, Inter surprised me and are deservedly in the lead.”
He touched on the drop Juventus are experiencing, compared to last season.
“After 8 league wins in a row there was a slight drop in performance because the new purchases Rabiot and Ramsey did not fit well and in addition there was also the loss of Chiellini, who is a monster at the back, it’s heavy. De Ligt is good, not yet on Giorgio’s level. And then there’s Ronaldo who hasn’t impressed me yet.”
Altobelli wasn’t sure if the Nerazzurri would still be at the top of the league table heading into 2020.
“Hard to say. Conte absolutely must recover Sensi and Barella because without those two the midfield loses so much. And he also needs Sanchez, who is essential to give Lukaku and Martinez some breathing space and they can’t play all the time, otherwise they lose their edge. In my opinion Inter won’t drop and if they pass the next two games unscathed against Fiorentina and Genoa, they will be able to remain first at the turn of the year.”
The 63-year-old Italian thought that the January transfer window would be more important for Inter than for Juventus.
“I’d say so. In January it’s difficult to find a play so good as to raise the quality level of the Bianconeri because those who have champions don’t let them leave in winter. Inter, on the other hand, are in difficulty in terms of numbers and the recoveries of the injured will not be enough. Conte needs a left midfielder and a mezzala.”
Altobelli suggested that Antonio Conte has made more of an impact this season compared to Maurizio Sarri.
“Without a doubt. Antonio gave Inter peace and quiet, confirmed his leadership and the team took on an appearance. From Sarri I expected more at the top level of the game, Allegri was dismissed, who had won five leagues and several cups in five seasons, in order to search for a more fluid coach and from the point of view of performances not much has been seen. Juve ended the Champions League group stages in first place, but in the league, they have dropped too many points on the way.”
Finally, Altobelli thought that the title race between the two clubs would last all season.
“For me, yes. Especially if Inter recovers their injured and buy a couple of important players. With Conte they won’t drop like in the past. At the end I think there is a 60% chance that Juve will win the title, but this year there could be a surprise.”