Antonio Conte

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Conte slams referee as Inter lose at Barcelona

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Antonio Conte was not happy with the officials as Inter Milan lost 2-1 at Barcelona on Wednesday.

The former Chelsea and Juventus manager saw his side go 1-0 up at the Nou Camp but two late goals from Luis Suarez saw Barca seal a comeback win.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Conte slammed referee Damir Skomina for not giving Inter a “clear penalty” when Stefano Sensi was brought down in the box by Arthur.

“I think there has been a clear penalty that we have not been given and then Barcelona have scored an equalizer,” Conte said. “We are talking about an international referee, who has experience, who took charge of the Champions League final. We deserved more. I am bitter because I have seen some situations that I did not like. There were things that I did not like from the beginning, but I don’t want to talk about that. On the bench we had some feelings I did not like.”

Conte then added that Inter deserved more respect, and revealed that the referee threatened to send him off after his protestations on the sidelines.

“What did the referee tell me? Nothing, he came to warn me and he said he would send me off at the next opportunity,” Conte said. “Referees have on their shirt the word ‘respect’ and it is the only thing I have asked. They must respect those who come here to try to do better than the other team. Respect must be mutual.”

The defeat was Inter’s first of the season, as they’d won five-straight in Serie A and for large spells of the clash at Barcelona they looked assured and steady after Lautaro Martinez gave them the lead.

Conte’s criticism of Skomina is particularly surprising as he is recognized as one of the best referees in the game and, as Conte said, he refereed the UEFA Champions League final last season.

Referees have bad days. So too do managers. Conte’s reaction was ‘on brand’ as his passionate style on the sidelines has never changed.

Inter have one point from their opening two UCL matches and are now playing catch up to Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona who both have four points on the board after two games.

The Italian giants now face Dortmund home and away and know they probably have to get at least four points to keep their hopes of reaching the last 16 alive.

Serie A roundup: Inter stay perfect, Ronaldo scores in Juventus win (video)

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Antonio Conte‘s new-look Inter Milan, who are on a six-game winning streak, headline Saturday’s Serie A action.

Sampdoria 1-3 Inter Milan

Who would have guessed? Inter Milan are unrecognizable – for the better – under the 50-year-old manager. On Saturday, Inter thumped Sampdoria  3-1, extending their winning streak to six games – a perfect start to the new season.

Loanee Alexis Sanchez scored his first goal with the Black and Blues, only to get sent off for yellow card accumulation a minute into the second half.

Down 2-0, Jakub Jankto pumped in hope into the home side, turning and quickly striking the ball with his left foot into the back of the net. It was the first goal Inter had allowed in three league games.

If Conte’s sides are known for something, though, it’s a well-balanced scheme. When Sampdoria gained control and pragmatism in the second half, Inter’s defensive stability helped contain the visitor’s lead.

And in the 61st minute, Nicolo Barella sealed it for Inter with a second-chance tap-in in the six-yard box.

Inter’s first true test comes midweek as the Italian giant meets Barcelona at the Camp Nou in Champions League play. Sampdoria, on the other side, prepares for Hellas Verona.

Juventus 2-0 SPAL

There’s Inter Milan, and then there’s Juventus. With 16 points after six games, the Old Lady is at the heels of Conte’s side. On Saturday, they, too, took care of business, winning 2-0 at home against SPAL.

In midair, following a light bounce, Miralem Pjanic’s strike curled into the top left corner of Etrit Berisha goal, who recorded eight saves throughout the 90 minutes. It was halftime, and Juventus were up 1-0.
In the second half, Juventus continued their dominance, possessing the ball 67 percent of the time and recording 12 shots. Following a whipping cross from Paulo Dybala, Cristiano Ronaldo headed home his third goal of the season in the 78th minute.

A Champions League match Bayer Leverkusen are next in the queue for Juventus. But just days later, they’ll have a legitimate chance to take first place in the table as they travel to Milan to take on Inter. SPAL prepare for to take on Parma next.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Sassuolo 1- 4 Atalanta

Conte preens after 10-man Inter stays perfect ahead of Juve tilt

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Antonio Conte is showing his feathers after Inter Milan overcame an Alexis Sanchez red card to beat Sampdoria 3-1 on Saturday.

Alexis, who scored in the match, was shown a second yellow card for simulation in the 46th minute. Inter led 2-0 at the time, but held on to improve its league record to 6-0. Inter still had 55 percent possession against Serie A’s surprising bottom dwellers.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Conte, of course, was a Premier League champion at Chelsea, but forced out of the club for Maurizio Sarri. He seems pretty thrilled to speak to his tactical acumen after the win. From football-italia:

“I am a coach who always gives a precise idea of football to his team. I seem to set the fashion, because when I went to England, nobody played with three at the back, then even the England team started playing that way. I come back to Italy and we’re seeing more teams with three-man defenses.”

“(The red card) would’ve killed any team, but not us. I seem to set the fashion in tactics.”

Conte boasts three Serie A titles with Juve, a Serie B crown from Bari, and his Premier League championship from Chelsea. Imagine his swagger if Inter ends Juve’s incredible 8-year scudetti run.

Inter hosts Juventus a week from Sunday.

Conte’s Inter stays perfect, follows up derby win with defeat of Lazio

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The Nerazzuri are humming.

Inter Milan beat Lazio on Wednesday to move to 5-0 in Serie A, continuing a perfect league start for Antonio Conte in his first job since leaving Chelsea.

[ ROUNDUP: Insane League Cup match day yields ‘cupsets’ ]

Not too far removed from winning the Premier League but skipping town under a label of “not attacking enough” for Blues owner Roman Abramovich, Conte is rolling with the big-investing Nerazzurri.

Danilo D’Ambrosio scored Inter’s goal on Wednesday, which came four days after a 2-0 defeat of derby rivals AC Milan.

“You won’t move my position,” Conte said of the club’s title possibilities in a league dominated by Juventus, who they play in two weeks.

“You saw the difficulties we had in the first half. At the same time, getting five wins out of five shows the hard work is paying off and the mentality is becoming consolidated. I am sure the moment we get a bad result, the critics will come piling on, but we are ready.”

Alexis Sanchez got onto the field in the win.

The 30-year-old has played just 18 minutes for Inter, eight of them coming Wednesday. That’s one day after Conte said this about the Chilean.

“For him it is worth the words I give for everyone else,” Conte said before the match. “When I see ready players, they will be inserted [into the starting line-up]. I have to work in the interest of Inter, not of individuals.”

Given Sanchez’s track record, it’s hardly a surprise to see Conte choose other players over the Chilean. Injuries and form limited him to five goals and nine assists in 45 career games for United, far off his 80 and 45 in 166 with Arsenal.

While Alexis could still rebound and snare his former status, it seems like he’s going to need to either rip up that big money contract — he’s on the books at Old Trafford until 2022 — and go somewhere that wants him. Otherwise, he’d have to go the China, MLS, or Chinese Super League route.

Knowing Alexis, the latter seems likely.

Serie A roundup: Inter win Derby della Madonnina, Juventus edge Verona (video)

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Inter Milan’s rampant run and Juventus’ win headline Saturday’s Serie A action.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

AC Milan 0-2 Inter Milan

The stats books following this season’s first Derby della Madonnina make two things very clear: at the moment, Inter are the best team in Milan and in Serie A.

With four consecutive victories to start the season, Antonio Conte and Co. lead Italy’s top-flight by two points.

 

After nearly being up two goals in the first half, Inter broke deadlock in the 49th minute. From a orchestrated set-piece play, marcelo Brozovic’s strike skimmed the heels of Rafael Leão, deflecting the ball past Gianluigi Donnarumma, and into the back of the net. An offside call was reviewed through VAR, but the goal stood.

In the 78th minute, a short, lofted cross from Nicolò Barella found Romelu Lukaku, who headed the ball into the far post. The Belgian, who arrived from Manchester United during the summer, has scored three goals in four league games.

Dominating time with the ball didn’t do much for AC Milan, whose clearest chance came late in the second half when Theo Hernández’s strike inside the box hit the bar.

Yet to taste a draw or defeat, Inter marches on as they host Lazio next, while AC Milan travel to Turin to take on Torino.

Juventus 2-1 Hellas Verona

In a game that could have gone either way, Juventus, with its star-studded team and all, walked away with three points against 10-man Hellas Verona.

Aaron Ramsey, who made a shock switch to the Old Lady in July following an 11-year spell with Arsenal, scored his first Serie A goal. From distance, in the 31st minute, the 29-year-old’s shot deflected Verona’s Koray Gunter, beating Marco Silvestri and into the goal.
Ramsey’s goal, however, only leveled the score.
Following a missed penalty and second chance, Miguel Veloso scored what can be the goal of the week: a first-time, left-footed volley into the top corner of Gianluigi Buffon’s goal. Verona, who had a couple of clear chances in the second half, were unable to get past Buffon again.
With three points desperately needed to keep pace with Inter Milan, Cristiano Ronaldo came to the rescue. The Portuguese converted from the sport – his first of the season – following a solo run from Juan Cuadrado.

With positive momentum behind them, second-place Juventus travels to Brescia next, while Hellas Verona receive a lackluster Udinese side.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Cagilari 3-1 Genoa

Udinese 0-1 Brescia