Conte: We expect a very difficult match against Napoli

The Italian manager, Antonio Conte believes he shares “the same passion” as Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso as he prepares to take his table-topping Inter side to Stadio San Paolo.

In today’s pre-match press conference, Inter manager Antonio Conte made it clear that he knows a difficult match awaits his side tomorrow night against Napoli.

“I returned to find the lads rested but with the right desire and determination. I’m pleased as a tough match immediately awaits us in Naples. We must pay them plenty of attention,” he explained. 

“Napoli are a great side with a lot of quality in their squad. We’ll need to put in a top performance in what is a tricky away fixture. Getting a result at the San Paolo would give us even more confidence after how well we’ve done so far. 

“We’re joint-top thanks to the hard work that we’ve put in. Only by keeping up this work rate can we continue on our journey.

“We overcame some real difficulties during the first half of the season and nobody expected to see us sitting first in the league. The path that we’ve taken is the right one. Our desire is to achieve satisfaction, giving our all to make the fans happy.”

On the other hand, Gattuso took charge of Napoli on December 11, replacing Carlo Ancelotti, and after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Parma he guided the Partenopei to victory at Sassuolo in his second game at the reign as the manager.

Conte has backed Gattuso to succeed in Naples and claims the former Milan boss was not given the praise he deserves for his near 18-month spell in charge of Inter’s rivals. Antonio Conte believes he shares “the same passion” as Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso as he prepares to take his table-topping Inter side to Stadio San Paolo.

Gattuso? Great passion and great desire. Like me, I have great respect for him because he faced difficulties abroad and in the Pro League. Just like me, he built his career with his own hands. I’m happy with what he’s doing because Napoli is the answer to what he did with AC Milan.

“Given the Rossoneri’s season, what he did last year was underestimated. Milan kept everyone and added other players. This shows the work he has done. I wish him the best until the game (laughs).

“We expect a very difficult match. It’s a team that has great quality, an excellent squad. Now there has been a change of manager, Gattuso has arrived, a manager who has great motivations and manages to transfer them to the team.

Talking about the club linked with Arturo Vidal, Conte replied:

“Vidal? I don’t like talking about other players who play in other teams out of respect for him and his club, as well as my players. I haven’t done it in the past and I don’t do it now,

Inter are unbeaten in their last 10 Serie A matches and are top of the table by virtue of having a better goal difference than second-placed Juventus.

It remains to be seen who will win, although both sides need to start the second half of the season on a good note.