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Conte – Napoli were smart to defend

Antonio Conte, Inter Milan
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Antonio Conte compliments Gennaro Gattuso and Napoli for their “defensive” performance.

Conte’s Inter Milan side were undone by a fabulous Fabian Ruiz effort, in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final.

The defeat came on the back of a win 4-2 against AC Milan. In what Conte called “a derby that took a lot” from his side.

In an interview with Rai Sport, Conte gave credit to his opponent but you get the feeling he really can’t stand a team that comes with the purpose of defending.

He said:

“The derby took away a lot of energy, both physical and especially psychological.”

“I congratulate Napoli, as their strategy evidently paid off, seeing as they won.”

“Napoli came here to play a very defensive game, with Dries Mertens marking Marcelo Brozovic and all the spaces closed up.”

“There were no spaces today, as Napoli played a very tactical game.”

“Gennaro Gattuso was smart to sit back, wait and go on the counter.

“When you’re up against defensive teams like this, you have to move the ball around faster and create spaces. Napoli was so clammed up.”

Do I detect a hint of sarcasm in Antonio Conte’s voice?