Inter coach Antonio Conte spoke to gathered reporters at a press conference today, ahead of tomorrow’s vital Champions League clash against Barcelona, a must win game for the Nerazzurri. His words were noted by Calciomercato.com
"Tomorrow’s definitely important because we're playing for qualification in the Champions League and it's definitely an important moment for us. When we rewound the tape and went back to the draw, we talked about a very difficult group and the fact that we arrived at the last day with the possibility to qualify for the next round at home against Barcelona must be a source of pride. It would be important for everyone, for the environment and for the players, who would continue the experience in this trophy. How important it would be for me, that I am in my fourth Champions League.”
He touched on the rumours that Barcelona will be playing with a heavily reduced squad, due to the important of their upcoming matches in the league, as well as their guaranteed first place finish in the group.
"We're talking about one of the strongest teams in the world, with a full squad. Every year they aim to win all the competitions, and this means that they have 20 players all very strong. They're happy for first place but it's also true that they don't have any pressure and that's good for them. We have to think about ourselves.”
The 50-year-old Italian coach then discussed his goals with the club this season, assuming they qualify for the next round of the competition.
"We have to live day by day and get to Christmas in the best possible way. Victory will mathematically give us the right to qualify, this must give us stimuli. But we must not look beyond.”
Conte then revealed the changes in the team’s mentality since their first meeting with Barcelona this season.
"Two months have passed and we've changed in some ways. In Barcelona we played with great courage, personality and desire, then in the end they won the game with some important plays. It's been a while, we've grown in some ways, but the players will change because we've been dealing with injuries for quite some time. We'll try to exalt our merits and try to limit theirs. But it's going to be a difficult game, where we'll suffer. It's useless to think otherwise because we'd be foolish, everyone suffers from Barcelona's dribbling.”
The former Juventus and Chelsea coach spoke about what he expects from the Inter fans tomorrow.
"We expect a lot of positive energy from our stadium, from all sectors. We must all pursue this prestigious goal together.”
The 50-year-old Italian also discussed the club’s injury crisis.
"It's a situation we've been living with for a long time, the positive factor is that many young people are growing up and taking responsibility to fill the gaps in the squad. There are three games to go before the Christmas break, there's the right enthusiasm and we're interpreting these games in the right way. We must continue like this and tomorrow we must also give something more.”
Finally, Conte spoke about his wishes for the officiating team tomorrow and how they’ll approach the game.
"I always ask for respect for myself and my players. Now it's useless to look back, let's look forward to another game tomorrow and try to be focused on the game. The aim is to give our all, the rest will come by itself.”For more news, visit our homepage!Apollo Heyes