Inter's Conte furious with Italian media

Antonio Conte is unhappy with the Italian media, saying their fixation with formations is 'crap'.
Antonio Conte is unhappy with the Italian media, saying their fixation with formations is 'crap'.

Only three rounds into his Serie A return, new Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte is already fed up with the local media's obsession with tactics and formation.

Known for his three-man defence, Conte was asked if he would change to a more traditional four-man backline.

"Only in Italy are we fixated on formations," Conte snapped at a reporter's question over the "modulo" - Italian for formation.

"I've coached in England and they're not the least bit interested in that there. I want to see courage and intensity, which we're trying to express. The rest is all crap."

When Conte guided Juventus to three straight Serie A titles from 2012-14, his defence of Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini was the backbone of the club's success.

When he took over Chelsea in 2016, he used a 4-1-4-1 formation during dispiriting early-season losses to Arsenal and Liverpool before quickly changing to a 3-4-2-1 with David Luiz, Cesar Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill going on to anchor the defence in a campaign that ended with the Premier League title.

At Inter, Conte is using Diego Godin, Stefan de Vrij and Milan Skriniar to anchor a 3-5-2 and Inter has started with three wins from three matches to open up a two-point lead over Bologna and eight-time defending champions Juventus.

It's the first time Juventus have not been atop the standings since March 2018.

Inter's early success will be tested against struggling AC Milan in the city derby on Saturday.

"Modern football evolves and you have to keep up with the times," Conte said. "Enthusiasm isn't tied to results but rather what we're trying to do. Rome was not built in a day."

Australian Associated Press