Antonio Conte laid much of the blame for Tuesday’s second-half collapse away to Borussia Dortmund at the feet of the Inter Milan board, claiming, “Big mistakes were made in planning this season,” and insisting he is “fed up of saying it.”
It was the second time this season that Inter have dominated the first half of a major clash in the UEFA Champion League, only to throw it all away in the second half and walk away empty-handed. In early October, Conte’s side held a 1-0 lead over Barcelona at the Camp Nou, but lost 2-1.
This time, a 2-0 lead over Dortmund turned into a 3-2 defeat, and that has Conte seeing red. In Conte’s mind, he doesn’t have a big enough, or deep enough, squad to compete on multiple fronts and against the quality of competition they face. He refused to tip-toe around the perceived issue — quotes from Football Italia:
“Big mistakes were made in planning this season. I am fed up of saying it.”
“It’s disappointing, but what can I say? They tell me that I should smile more on television. I should always say the same things, the growth process, taking it step by step, so just ask me some questions and I’ll try to answer.
“I don’t feel like even commenting on the second half, as there are too many alibis and I don’t want to create any more. I just hope this type of match clarifies things for those who need to understand. The lads are going at 100 kilometers per hour and I can only thank them for all they are doing during this period. They cannot give more than this.
“It irritates me and I hope that this defeat irritates my players too. We can do no more than to work and that’s what we’re doing. I am just fed up of saying the same things over and over, I hope a director comes here and says things instead.
“I don’t care about January or February. We should’ve planned this season out much, much better. We proved that we can trouble anyone if we are on form, but there are players who have played non-stop. I am fed up of saying it. You can take your conclusions from a second half like that.”
“We are Inter, so we must all look at ourselves and realize we are… actually, I was going to cause controversy again, but no, stop me talking now.
“I am really p—ed off, because we cannot do more than this. We’ve reached the limit.”
The most frustrating part for Conte, presumably, is that Juventus look genuinely beatable for the for the first time in nearly a decade. It’s as if they’re extending ever opportunity for someone — anyone — to knock them off their perch and take the title from them. Conte is beyond smart enough to recognize it, yet he doesn’t feel he’s been supported with the necessary means to do so, just as he’s wise enough to know Juve’s dip won’t last forever — maybe not even a second season — and this could very well be their
best only chance.