BENEVENTO - A big and well-earned win for Inter at the Stadio Ciro Vigorito on the postponed matchday one in Serie A 2020/21. Antonio Conte’s boys triumphed 5-2 over Benevento, the result all but secured after just 30 minutes thanks to a Lukaku brace and Gagliardini’s goal, Hakimi then stepping up for his first Nerazzurri finish and being joined by Lautaro after the break.
What’s the biggest source of satisfaction after a result like this?
“The outright biggest source of satisfaction for a coach is to see that, no matter who’s playing, the idea of the game doesn’t change. It’s a style of play that we’ve been pursuing since last year. We’ve got more options and we’re a team that likes to play, that attacks and that creates lots and lots of chances. We’ve got to work more on our balance because today we also conceded two goals. But I enjoy watching the team play like they did tonight, with incisive attacking moves.”
It seems that the new arrivals have slotted in rapidly to a tried-and-tested system from last season...
“The most important aspect of what we did last season was bringing with us a great base level of work, to which we’re now adding new interpretations and new players. That increases our threat. The boys were great because they had the right approach, the right desire and the right determination against a team that beat Sampdoria in Genoa just days ago. But we’re well aware that it’s a long road ahead and that there’s still a lot to do.”
What happened to Vidal?
“He took a knock to the thigh and, considering the result, I thought it best not to risk him. There shouldn’t be anything to worry about, Arturo’s a warrior and warriors are always ready.”
How should you respond to those who say that Inter are the favourites for the Scudetto?
“We should be enthusiastic about the fact that there’s this respect for Inter, the Club’s players and the work I’m doing. After last season, when we did surprisingly well, we should be delighted that the experts see such potential in us. The fact that they’re looking at us in a different way means that the team have gained credibility. This aspect could, however, complicate our lives because our opponents will be more attentive when they play us. Nevertheless, it should give us enthusiasm.”
Beyond rotating players, are Inter changing things tactically in midfield?
“I like the fact that this is being recognised, but no coach wants to reveal their team’s set-up. It’s important when the players implement what has been worked on during the week. There’s a structure in place and we do important work, irrespective of the quality of the players.”
You made seven changes to the team that started against Fiorentina. Will this be something that happens regularly over the course of the season?
“The fact that a lot of changes were made but this didn’t have a negative impact on our performance levels is proof that the players are working well and we’re all on the same page. We’ve just had an intense season, and an equally intense period awaits us due to the fact that we’ll be playing every three days. By rotating players, we’ll be able to help our new arrivals settle in more quickly. This might involve taking risks because the players need to master certain situations, but we’ll have more options.”