Antonio Conte has advised his Juventus counterpart Maurizio Sarri to “stay calm” after Inter Milan claimed leadership of Serie A.
The Nerazzurri became the first team to dislodge the Old Lady from Italian football’s top step after they had occupied it for 552 consecutive days.
Inter’s perfect start: Five key things to know…
- Conte became Inter’s 14th permanent coach since Jose Mourinho left in 2010 this summer.
- He’s overseen a squad overhaul with Romelu Lukaku joining from Man Utd and Mauro Icardi moving to PSG on loan.
- Inter began their 2019/20 Serie A campaign with a 4-0 win over Lecce.
- They’ve since followed that up with victories over Cagliari (2-1) and Udinese (1-0).
- Next up for the league’s only 100% side is the Derby della Madonnina against AC Milan on September 21.
Conte, who began Juve’s recent period of domination (accounting for the last eight scudettos), has overseen Inter winning their opening three matches on the bounce.
No other team in Italy’s top division can boast a 100% record though, it being early days, no one in the black-and-blue half of Milan is thinking about ending a 10-year championship wait just yet.
Someone who has been making noises is Sarri, who claimed Juve’s recent goalless draw at Fiorentina was determined by mitigating factors such as the early kick-off time and temperature, which led to Conte pulling out the world’s tiniest violin.
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“I don’t want to say anything,” he told reporters.
“Otherwise we would have to bring out the balance sheets and the look at the estates.
“Let’s just say that someone needs to stay calm and serene because they are on the strong side.”
Before taking on city rivals AC Milan on matchday four, there’s a small matter of their Champions League group phase opener against Slavia Prague at home.
The game will be Conte’s 24th in Europe’s premier club competition and first since losing 3-0 to Barcelona as Chelsea boss in March 2018.
However, with Inter in a process of re-building, Conte is wary of competing in more than one competition.
🏃♂️ | VIGILIA
— Inter (@Inter) September 16, 2019
“It will be hard to play on more than one front. The more time you have the easier it is for the coach and also for the players to recover,” he said.
“The Champions League is a great source of motivation, we all want to do well and go far for the fans too, but it is not easy for me in my goal of creating a side with an identity.
“There is real desire to create something special, we are laying solid foundations for something important.
“It is vital we keep our feet on the ground, but the enthusiasm must come from the results, from our hard work and our aims, so time and patience is needed.”