Football News

Conte even more intense than Simeone? Diego Godin details tactical shift since joining Inter

By Ben Green

Published: 15:34, 6 May 2020

Diego Godin says the tactical preparation of Antonio Conte at Inter Milan is far more intense than with Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid.

The Uruguayan centre-back joined the Nerazzurri at the start of the campaign after nearly a decade of marshalling Simeone’s backline in Spain.

Godin’s Inter transfer a success? Five things to know…

  • Godin joined Conte’s Inter Milan last summer on a free transfer after spending nine seasons at Atleti, with whom he reached two Champions League finals.
  • The 34-year-old has played 1,090 Serie A minutes in Conte’s favoured three-at-the-back system.
  • This game time includes just 12 starts as he has competed with rising star Alessandro Bastoni, 21, for the third spot.
  • The situation has played out amid rumours Inter could sell Godin on for a quick profit in the next transfer window.
  • Godin has ruled out another spell as a player at Atleti, but suggested he may one day be open to returning in a “different capacity”, such as a coaching role.

Though he has not managed to become a guaranteed starter, Inter have kept five clean sheets across the 12 Serie A matches Godin has started alongside Milan Skriniar and Stefan de Vrij.

Defensive organisation is a hallmark of Conte sides, the latest incarnation of which is third in the Serie A table having conceded the second-fewest number of goals (24) in the competition this season. Godin is no stranger to taking up habitation in such resilient structures, having been a key player in Simeone’s backline at Atleti for several years.

When discussing the shift from one organised tactician to another, he was quick to highlight the sheer intensity of Conte’s preparations, which became the hallmark of his time in west London with Chelsea.

He told AS: “I have found the football at Inter both physical and tactical. We watch videos of offensive and defensive tactics and work on the field much more than in Spain.

“We worked a lot on tactics with Cholo [Simeone]. But here we watch several hours every day.”

Godin admits to having struggled with the greater ball-playing responsibilities demanded in Milan, along with the distance he is asked to cover.

He added: “From a football point of view, it has been a big change, because Inter’s line of three is different from the ones I have played before. [It is] more aggressive.

“I have to have more output with the ball and I am having runs from one side, because normally I was moving nine kilometers or nine and a half and now I am doing 11 and a half, because the pressure is also high.”

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‘Gervinho caused me the most problems’

Godin went into more detail about life in Italy, notably the opposition players who have troubled him so far. Serie A is blessed with numerous world-class forwards, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Ciro Immobile among others, but it was a former Arsenal man who gave the Uruguayan a particularly torrid time on the pitch.

When asked about the difficult forwards he has so far faced, Godin replied: “The one made things most difficult was Gervinho.

“Conte had warned us that Parma was playing counterattack, that this was his main weapon, but we had difficulties anyway.”

Gervinho scored Parma’s second goal in a 2-2 draw at the San Siro earlier this season; however, 21-year-old Inter loanee Yann Karamoh also made significant contributions by twice getting the better of Godin in the build-up to his team’s two goals.

Parma are currently ninth in Serie A, with Gervinho’s seven goals and three assists having proved invaluable in the club’s pursuit of a top 10 finish. Many may feel the 32-year-old Ivory Coast international didn’t quite reach his potential at Arsenal. 

After leaving the Gunners, Gervinho shone for Roma, notably in 2013/14. He is now showcasing similar performances for Parma after a two-year sojourn in China with Hebei China Fortune.

Last campaign he netted 11 league goals – his first double digit league return since his Lille days – while this time round he is continuing to find his name of the scoresheet and giving world-class defenders like Godin sleepless nights.