APPIANO GENTILE – Inter are set to return to Champions League action tomorrow, with Conte’s men ready to face Borussia Mönchengladbach at 21:00 CET on matchday five in Group B. This is what Antonio Conte had to say to the press from the Suning Training Centre today:
What do Inter need to do in order to not feel the pressure too much tomorrow evening? Is the match part of the team’s growth process?
“A lot of negative judgements were made after the Real Madrid match: I heard a lot of people speaking of a match that was dominated by the Spaniards. But there are those who are forgetting that we were reduced to ten men after 30 minutes and conceded a penalty at the start. I challenge anyone to turn things around against Real with a one-man disadvantage for more than an hour. It’s true that these situations came about due to what we did, so we do need to put in the work and improve so that they don’t happen again. Tomorrow’s match will be against a good side who are doing very well in the Champions League. We must give our all and come off the pitch without any regrets.”
Inter are no longer in charge of their own destiny when it comes to progressing from their group: how much belief is there that the team can qualify?
"We began our Champions League campaign in charge of our destiny, the fact that this is no longer the case means that we’ve come up short in certain situations. The only way to keep our hopes alive is to win our match against Borussia. We know that it won’t be easy, they’ve shown how strong they are. However, it’s an opportunity to carry on down a path in Europe where important knockout matches are often played. This is a further test for us.”
It seems like Hakimi is encountering difficulties. Given his Bundesliga past, does the match in Germany represent an opportunity to return to form?
"I don’t like talking about individuals. Go back and watch what I said when Achraf arrived: he has great potential but needs to work on the defensive side of things. Let’s not forget that there are greater pressures, expectations and demands in Serie A compared to the Bundesliga or the Premier League. He has potential and needs to put in the hard work, all the while remaining aware that the pressure here is completely different compared to Germany.”
Against Sassuolo, we saw a winning side that was balanced and approached the match in an excellent manner. Barella played in front of the defence for the first time: is this a setup that could be used again?
"Prior to this season, we got back to work after very little time away and have since played many competitive matches with new players like Hakimi, Kolarov and Vidal. Darmian and Arturo had previously played for me, so they were slightly more aware of what to expect. However, the new players needed to put in the hard work, play friendlies and get to grips with new situations. Given that they immediately had to play competitive fixtures, we were forced to try to find a balance by playing matches. At the same time, we were looking to achieve positive results. We haven’t always managed this, but this is the situation.”