In a press conference with Italian media, Internazionale Milan manager Antonio Conte constructively criticized a few of his players following a few performances by the team in recent league and Champions League games.
Moroccan full back Achraf Hakimi is one of the players the Italian mentor singled out, highlighting that his lack of ability to keep up with the intensity of the Serie A is one of his challenges.
The 22-year-old versatile player joined Inter Milan in July 2020 signing a five-year-deal with the club after his parent club Real Madrid decided against keeping him for the season.
Hakimi spent two seasons at German giants Borussia Dortmund where he played 57 league games until his loan finished at the end of the 2019/20 season. Conte expressed his concerns about some of the players.
“There were a lot of negative judgements after the match against Real Madrid, I heard people saying Real did what they wanted. They forget that we were reduced to ten men after 30 minutes and they had a penalty after four minutes. I challenge anyone to play head on against Real in this situation. We created those situations and they penalized us, we must improve so that we do not create these negative situations that make everything more difficult,” the coach explained.
“We started the Champions League as referees of our destiny, if today we are not, it means that we made some mistakes in some situations. We know that going all the way in the Champions League won’t be easy, but it will be an opportunity for us to follow a path started in Europe, where there are often knockout games. There is an opportunity to test this type of situation once again,” he added.
Asked specifically about his assessment of the Real Madrid product this season so far, Conte did not hold back.
“Go and see what I said at the beginning of the season about Hakimi, I remain firm on my positions. He has potential, but he has to work a lot on the defensive phase. In Italy there are pressures, expectations and demands higher than in Germany and in the Premier League, especially in teams such as Inter. He is a boy who has good potential, but must work knowing that there are different pressures here” he concluded.
The Italian side won 3-2 against Borussia Monchengladbach on Tuesday night to keep their hopes of making it to the knockout stage of the Champions League alive. Although they got three points, Inter Milan remain rooted at the bottom of their group with 5 points, just two behind Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk in third and fourth while Mongchengladbach sits top of the pack with 8 points after 5 games.
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By Prince Sobayeni