Darmian: ‘Conte better than Van Gaal and Mourinho’

Inter full-back Matteo Darmian thinks coach Antonio Conte is a better coach than Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho. ‘He’s a step ahead’.

Darmian has proved decisive in recent weeks and has scored the winners against Cagliari and Hellas Verona this month.

“And to think that in the team there are people who are much more used to scoring than I am,” Darmian told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “But if the goals arrive, the more the better.

“But even more important is earning the trust of the coach and my teammates.”

Inter can pick up the Scudetto this weekend and Darmian said the Nerazzurri are still waiting for ‘the most exciting hour’ of the season and revealed the first game against Sassuolo felt like the turning point.

“The win will be the most exciting hour,” Darmain said. “There are still some points missing, we hope to get them as soon as possible.

“This season has been progressing. But we knew from the start that we would have done well.

“Everything happened before and after Sassuolo, in the first round. It was a delicate match for us.

“We were leaving behind too many points on the road. Winning that Sunday was decisive for morale.

“If I think overall, the exit from the Champions League, however negative, instead of knocking us down, it charged us.”

Darmain explained coach Conte was ‘clear and firm’ after Inter had leapfrogged Milan in Serie A.

“He was clear and firm: ‘Now they are behind’,” Darmian continued.

“He said: ‘Psychologically we have an advantage. It all depends on you. We don’t want to make the mistake of looking at the others’.

“And we did it.”

Darmain said the corporate issues this season has not affected the players’ performances.

“We are professionals, we did what was right to do: we focused on our work,” he said. “And we became even more compact.”

Conte mentioned Darmian for the Italy squad ahead of Euro 2020 this summer and the former Manchester United full-back reveals he would love to win a spot with the Azzurri.

“That jersey is the highest ambition. I was lucky enough to play in a World Cup and a European Championship,” Darmian added.

“I’m here, I do my best. Then, let’s see…”

Conte was the Italy CT when Darmian thrived in the 2016 European Championship and the former Parma player said the reunion with the former Chelsea coach was simple.

“It was as if I had never left him,” the defender revealed. “He’s fierce and has the same desire as then, to bring the team to the top.

“He has improved tactically and as a character.”

Darmian then spoke about his former coaches Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.

“[Van Gaal] was a freak of the rules. He was the one who wanted me at United,” he explained. “One of the first days in Manchester he took me aside and said: ‘You are here thanks to me. You have my confidence, you will fight with [Antonio] Valencia, know that for me the name doesn’t matter’.

“[Mourinho] has no other loves than to win. I owe him trophies, even a Europa League.”

But Darmian feels Conte has the upper hand on the two previous coaches.

“He has great ideas, tactically, he’s a step ahead.”

The former Milan youth player stressed he doesn’t feel winning the Scudetto with Inter is his revenge.

“I can only speak well of Milan. I stayed there for 11 years, they made me a man,” he said. “Our paths separated because that Milan was a great team and I needed to play.”

And the word Scudetto for Darmian means: “Joy, the closing of a circle. To the guys who want to become footballers, I say: never abandon your dream, never lose your smile even in the face of sacrifices, which are also necessary.”


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