May 18, 2021

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Conte claims the Champions League exit was “key” to the Inter Scudetto triumph


An excited Antonio Conte claimed that Inter’s Champions League exit was an important moment in their season as he celebrated winning the Serie A title.

Atalanta’s 1-1 draw with Sassuolo on Sunday meant the Nerazzurri were declared champions of Italy for the first time since Jose Mourinho’s treble-winning side in 2009-10.

It also ended a race of nine consecutive Scudetti for Juventus, three of which were won by Conte when he was in charge from 2011 to 2014.

With four games left, Conte’s men have matched their points (82) and clean sheets (14) throughout last season as they finished one point behind Bianconeri.

They are 13 points clear at the top and have only lost twice in all competitions since the turn of the year.

Their form in 2021 looks much more impressive considering that they endured a race of two wins in 10 games in all competitions in October and November, while December saw them crash out of Europe after a victory from six matches in their Champions League- group.

Conte felt that criticism of Inter’s European form was unfair and believes that disappointment strengthened his side’s determination in their Scudetto challenge.

Speaking to Rai and Sky Sport Italia: “I think the most important moment was in the week we went out of the Champions League when criticism rained down on us in a perhaps exaggerated way.

“It was not easy. We had a group of guys who were not used to winning. We did well to compress ourselves and take criticism to become even stronger.

“The best thing that happened to me is to have found a group that implicitly trusted me and my management. The growth of the players has led to this result.

“They asked me what Inter needed; I replied that every player should raise the line, not only from a football question but also from a mental point of view.

“The boys are no longer players who participate, but who have won.

“I put it among the most important successes in my career. It was difficult because it was not an easy choice for me to come to Inter at a time when the team was certainly not competitive or had the resources to achieve something important.

“Plus, I was going to a club that competes with Juventus, where I played for many years, and which dominated the league. There were many negative situations that I went into.

“Instead, I eagerly accepted the challenge, and I think the hard work paid off for all these victims.”

Conte will take his Inter to meet the old club Juve on May 15, where he intends to arrange something of a show, even though their season is actually over.

“It will be a match where we will do our best across the table. We managed to win with four games left, but we will still go there to play for the victory, ”he said.

“It’s always a pleasure for me to get into [Allianz] Stadium. Now I’m learning how to do it as an opponent.

“Having won with four matches left is proof of the good work everyone has done. We will continue to do well, but it is right to give more space to those who have played less.

“We try to do our best until the end. They know the mentality I expect from them. ”