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Special Juan

The Conte Thread

Started by Special Juan,

8,700 posts in this topic
2 hours ago, Jason said:

Peak Conte is excellent Conte. The 2016/17 league season was one of the most enjoyable seasons, IMO. 

It was amazing, we played some lovely stuff, proper Chels footy I love. Fast direct with purpose and very very hard to break down. He is only 3pts behind Juve, a squad that is far far better in quality.

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1 hour ago, Atomiswave said:

It was amazing, we played some lovely stuff, proper Chels footy I love. Fast direct with purpose and very very hard to break down. He is only 3pts behind Juve, a squad that is far far better in quality.

it would be great if Inter could clinch the league and end this Juve dominance, its boring tbh, just like Bayern dominance in Bundesliga

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30 minutes ago, Johnnyeye said:

it would be great if Inter could clinch the league and end this Juve dominance, its boring tbh, just like Bayern dominance in Bundesliga

That would be awesome mate....yeah them and Bayern own their League man, boring as fuck. Same shit in France.

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5 hours ago, Atomiswave said:

That would be awesome mate....yeah them and Bayern own their League man, boring as fuck. Same shit in France.

Lyon 7 titles in a row, now PSG

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6 minutes ago, NikkiCFC said:

Only Monaco in 16/17.

Ohh yeah forgot about that one......but the League is kinda trash, theres a reason PSG fucks up time after time in CL. They are not tested enough to withstand tough teams in CL, all that money on quality players and they buckle. But I will say if they could get a manager like Conte, they will be very dangerous. And before anyone says look at City and Pep, they too havent done much in CL, but thats cuz Pep does some weird shit in CL with City tactically, Conte wont do that I feel.

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Antonio Conte’s first season at Inter: Dynamite or a damp squib?

https://theathletic.com/1718820/2020/04/04/antonio-conte-inter-martinez-lukaku/

Conte-Inter-Lukaku-scaled-e1585940953887-1024x682.jpg

It had been almost 60 years since an Inter Milan coach won his first game in charge by four clear goals. Never one to get too carried away, Antonio Conte resorted, as he did at Chelsea, to one of those pyrotechnical metaphors he’s so fond of. “Sparks aren’t enough,” he growled. “We have to be dynamite.”

The crowd at San Siro were already blown away. Inter supporters had spent the last 18 months whistling Antonio Candreva, fed up with the wing-back’s wayward crossing and predictable decision-making. So imagine the reaction when he scored a screamer from 35 yards to round off an emphatic win over Lecce. Candreva looked like he couldn’t believe it himself, his incredulous reaction instantly becoming a meme.

“You all think I show up and everything I touch turns into a swan,” Conte later said. Well, yes, what else do you expect after the transformation of an ugly duckling like Candreva.

For starters, Conte set out what, for him at least, felt like a modest aim. He wanted to make Inter “credible” again. The feeling in the media was the club had achieved that without even kicking a ball. Their 28-year-old president Steven Zhang looked at Juventus and thought the best way to knock them off their perch was to hire the guys who had put them there in the first place: Beppe Marotta, the figurehead of the Old Lady’s recruitment for the last eight and a half years, arrived last December and it felt like only a matter of time before he picked up the phone and called Conte.

Now free from the Financial Fair Play constraints placed upon them by UEFA in 2015 as punishment for breaching regulations, Inter broke their transfer record twice in the summer, committing to spend £66 million on Romelu Lukaku alone.

In retrospect, the 14 goals he scored in his first 18 league games (the most prolific start by a new Inter striker, beating Christian Vieri’s 13 goals) meant the local papers probably felt vindicated in declaring them “winners” of the summer transfer window. But other signings from that period have not faired so successfully: Valentino Lazaro, signed for £20 million from Hertha Berlin, was sent packing by Conte, joining Newcastle on loan in January, and the 50-year-old’s faith was also shaken by the fading Diego Godin, who was signed on big wages from Atletico Madrid.

If you have followed Inter at all this season, you’ll no doubt be familiar with his counterpoints to those people making the argument this team deserved consideration as instant title contenders. But Conte argues the team are in transition. Mauro Icardi, Ivan Perisic and Radja Nainggolan are all gone, shown the exit door in the summer (by him). And despite doing business with Manchester United for Lukaku and the on-loan Alexis Sanchez, Inter mainly bought from smaller teams such as Cagliari and Sassuolo, so don’t expect too much. Oh, and while you’re at it, forget about comparing them to his Juventus and Chelsea sides. Unlike Inter this season, those clubs were not in the Champions League when he arrived — here, he doesn’t have the same time to drill the players in his methods, nor the days to rest, recover and rotate.

Conte’s paradox is that, despite his desire to play down expectations, nothing ever seems insurmountable to him. The harder the job, the better he does. He has built a reputation on turning around the fortunes of the biggest clubs. Inter have failed to win anything for nine years, so fit the bill, but it should be pointed out they still finished fourth last season.

Competing for the title with this Inter side is a high-ranking achievement, for sure. But higher than winning the Premier League with Chelsea in his debut 2016-17 season, considering the toxic situation he inherited from Jose Mourinho? That was a team that finished 10th a year before. To turn around that side — and outwit Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Mourinho in the process — took some doing.

For all his protestations, nothing has ever seemed impossible for Conte, and making Inter serious contenders appeared no different. He was making it look easy enough. Conte became the first Inter coach since 1966 to win the opening six league games of a season. Their record on the road was perfect until Christmas time — seven straight victories — and the first away defeat in Serie A didn’t come until mid-February.

The team showcased a mental toughness that differentiated it from others of recent memory. Recall the game against Sampdoria when Inter were 2-0 up and seemingly about to be awarded a penalty after Alexis went down in the area. Adjudged to have dived, he was instead shown a second yellow card and, all of a sudden, the game was back open again. Sampdoria pulled one back and it wouldn’t have come as a big surprise if the old insecure Inter re-emerged. But they didn’t collapse. Instead, Roberto Gagliardini added another goal and the 10 men got the win.

The same would happen in Prague in November when Inter thought they had doubled their lead only for their goal to be disallowed and play to be brought back so far by the VAR official that opponents Slavia were given a penalty, from which they equalised. Moments like that, as Conte likes to say, “can kill an elephant”, but Inter put it — and two other disallowed goals — behind them to win 3-1. The mentality associated with Conte’s teams, his famous grinta, was instantly discernible in Inter and as such they were to be taken very seriously.

Even in defeat, the recognition arrived. The hour Inter played in Barcelona in October was the best they have performed in Europe for years. It made their fans so proud. Inter won away to Napoli for the first time since 1997, then they came back from 2-0 down at half-time to beat Milan 4-2 (something nobody had done for almost 70 years). In no time at all, Conte had given the Interisti the sort of emotions and unforgettable memories they crave.

Alone at the top of Serie A in December, the question was: how long could Inter keep it up? Conte feared a shallow squad would catch up with them; that one or two injuries would leave the team in a state of emergency. When Alexis tore ankle ligaments in October, Conte stopped Sebastiano Esposito going to the Under-17 World Cup and frequently had to supplement the bench with the teenage sons of Dejan Stankovic and Paulo Fonseca, Filip and Matias, as well as Edoardo Vergani, a 19-year-old forward. The lack of alternatives often meant Inter went into the final match of seven-game cycles without the intensity Conte demands. In front in Barcelona and Dortmund, they couldn’t finish the job and ended up losing both games.

Come the winter, the pattern started to contaminate their league form, too. Inter have thrown away 11 points from winning positions, losing to Lazio and giving up equalisers in the final 15 minutes to Cagliari, Lecce, Atalanta and Fiorentina. It may indicate the team is tired, but also that the substitutions Conte makes are not refreshing the team.

Going into the winter break, Napoli (65), Atalanta (59) and Juventus (59) had all made considerably more line-up changes than Inter’s 44. Marotta heeded Conte’s repeated calls for intervention in January with the signings of Ashley Young, Victor Moses and Christian Eriksen, players used to long, hard seasons in a country with three domestic competitions. Young has settled the quickest, but each of them has made a scoring contribution with either a goal or an assist.

The 20-year-old Alessandro Bastoni has also stated his case to start beside Stefan de Vrij and Milan Skriniar over Godin, but the downturn remains with Inter’s xG goal difference declining through the winter.

This graphic provided by StatsBomb shows how their xG (green line) has dipped in the winter, while their xG conceded (purple line) has increased, and the two figures have become almost the same.

Inter Milan Serie A trends

One reason for their poorer xG goal difference is they are creating fewer good chances. Atalanta’s Alejandro Gomez has suggested that’s because teams have worked Inter out. Gomez told Spanish newspaper El Pais: “Inter only had one move: playing out from the back, from the centre-back to one of the wingers, who crossed first time for the strikers, Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez. One looks to hold the ball up and the other gets in behind. And then the team moves up. We put our two centre-backs man-to-man with Lukaku and Lautaro. We won the ball back from them and we attacked.”

Conte has become so dependent on the magnificent “Lula” partnership for goals  — 39 goals between them in all competitions — that opponents go into games knowing that stopping them goes a long way to stopping Inter too.

Alexis’ injury — subsequent surgery ruled him out for three months — forced Conte to lean harder on them, as did the sudden aridity of Inter’s midfield. It contributed six goals in the first month of the season. Since then, it has produced only six more in the league.

The absence of Stefano Sensi, who had provided the X factor for this team until his injury in the first Derby d’Italia in October (a 2-1 win for Juventus), has been keenly felt. Involved in five goals in his first five games, the wait for a new Wesley Sneijder seemed over. Unfortunately though, Sensi has now missed half the games this season and is struggling to get fit.

The invention deficit is noticeable, which explains why Inter pushed through a £17.6 million move for Eriksen from Tottenham even though they knew he would be available for nothing as a free agent in the summer. How he fits in a system without a traditional No 10 isn’t clear. Eriksen doesn’t have the low centre of gravity, aggression or acceleration Sensi possesses to move up from a position in midfield to one between the lines.

Still, in the sparing opportunities Conte has afforded him thus far, the Dane has been used to mix things up in a way for Inter we haven’t seen since Sensi and Alexis were injured, with Conte playing Eriksen off the front two in either a 3-4-1-2 or 4-3-1-2. Aside from the Ludogorets games though, when he scored and assisted — and the free kick he rattled against the crossbar against Milan — his impact so far has been limited.

At the time of the league’s suspension, Inter found themselves third, their lowest position of the season and six points off the top after back-to-back losses to title rivals Lazio and Juventus — defeats where Lukaku’s record of scoring in only one of seven games against top-six opponents did not exactly go unremarked upon. Confidence in Inter, it’s fair to say, has taken a bit of a knock.

For a season with so many highs and the palpable sense that Inter are back, some of the air has been let out of their balloon.

Conte is probably right to argue that the league is more competitive than it’s been in a long time. But with Juventus’ aura diminishing a little this season and Lazio unable to boast the same budget for transfers or wages, the serial winner in Conte must be frustrated he hasn’t taken full advantage.

Critics will point out that while Inter have seven more points than they did a year ago, their position in the table is the same as at this stage last season and, as was the case under Conte’s predecessor Luciano Spalletti, they failed to make it out of the group in the Champions League when qualification was in their hands.

Inter need to get their spark back if the season resumes, otherwise what looked like dynamite could end up a damp squib.

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45 minutes ago, NikkiCFC said:

 

No manager of that style will last at Real Madrid. Guys who will be demanding or not be yes men, Zidane just strokes the players egos and he isnt very confrontational with their board amd president either I would imagine. Just look at Capello, he lasted 1 season each of his spells at Madrid. Its not just the players, its the board as well.

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Inter had Juve by the neck and they could improve in january, but Conte went and bought Ashley Young and Moses.

They are now 9 points behind.

Conte often either looks like a genious or complete tool.

I like him for that brilliant season but I still hate their childish shit with Costa. We had a strong team, ready for further improvement and those two ruined it. Conte being the manager and the more "mature" of the two should deal with it or make it so that team wouldnt stagnate. Offcourse the whole team went down then and there because of his ego. 

 

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54 minutes ago, NikkiCFC said:

 

he was never backed correctly, I fully will never stop believing this

he was not blameless, of course, but he was, is and will be a great manager

not the easiest bloke to get on with, but FFS, this is a pro game, many assholes in all major sports globally have been superb managers and head coaches 

 

we have been blessed with many great managers over the last 22 years

Gianluca Vialli  (1998 Football League Cup, 1998 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, 1998 UEFA Super Cup, 2000 FA Cup, 2000 FA Charity Shield)
Claudio Ranieri
Jose Mourinho (love/hate)
Luiz Felipe Scolari 
Carlo Ancelotti (probably my favourite overall in terms of likeability, another bloke who got shit on here and a top 10 all time global manager ever)
Rafael Benitez. (I rate the hell out of him, I know many do not)
Antonio Conte.

hopefully Lamps gets added to that list

I refuse to put Sarri on it


 

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We would’ve had a hell of a back line had he got his targets. Fifa esq. 
 

           Dave—Bonucci—VVD
Candreva                            Sandro 

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We discussed this million times...

We can not blame club for players Conte did not get.

VVD wanted only Liverpool.

OX did not want to play for Conte. He also preferred Liverpool.

Bonucci never wanted to leave Italy.

We tried so hard on Sandro, Juve teased with us...

Conte preferred Morata/Lukaku over Auba/Lacazette which was very stupid.

Candreva for 25 or 30m? Please no. He even now signed Moses when he have Candreva...

He also wanted Vidal or Radja. 

Yes, Conte is one of the best coaches in the world but for not improving in his second season is more on him than on club.

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On ‎12‎-‎05‎-‎2020 at 10:42 PM, Vesper said:

he was never backed correctly, I fully will never stop believing this

he was not blameless, of course, but he was, is and will be a great manager

not the easiest bloke to get on with, but FFS, this is a pro game, many assholes in all major sports globally have been superb managers and head coaches 

 

we have been blessed with many great managers over the last 22 years

Gianluca Vialli  (1998 Football League Cup, 1998 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, 1998 UEFA Super Cup, 2000 FA Cup, 2000 FA Charity Shield)
Claudio Ranieri
Jose Mourinho (love/hate)
Luiz Felipe Scolari 
Carlo Ancelotti (probably my favourite overall in terms of likeability, another bloke who got shit on here and a top 10 all time global manager ever)
Rafael Benitez. (I rate the hell out of him, I know many do not)
Antonio Conte.

hopefully Lamps gets added to that list

I refuse to put Sarri on it


 

Well said Vesper.....im with you on this. We might not have gotten HIS players for whatever reason, but we didnt have to shove one crap player after the other down his throat. We clearly were weaker in his second season. For me an all time great manager for us. Sarii you said? I wouldnt be caught dead putting him anywhere in top 10.

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