Conte explains Inter exit and Tottenham snub

Antonio Conte hits back at Inter President Steven Zhang saying ‘my project never changed’ and suggests he didn’t snub Tottenham for economic reasons.

The Italian tactician won the Serie A title with Inter before parting ways with the Nerazzurri. Zhang had explained the coach’s departure by saying: “Our different points of view on that situation led us to this separation. What was not fundamental for him, was for the club. And vice versa. Conte is a top coach, but as a President, I have to think of the solidity of this club.”

After a short holiday with former Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo in Ibiza, Conte, who has returned to Milan, hit back at Inter’s President in an interview released with La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“What I can say is that my project never changed, but it would be nonsense to discuss this now. I don’t want to create controversy or talk about transfers. I respect Zhang and I thank him for choosing me. I love Inter, the club and their fans.

“I wish Simone Inzaghi the best of luck because he is a very talented and ambitious coach, I wish all the best to the Nerazzurri.”

Former Inter President Massimo Moratti had also been critical of Conte, saying he “lacked emotional attachment to the club and also the desire for a challenge.”

“I can’t deny his words left me embittered and disappointed,” Conte replied.

“Moratti is smart and classy and represents the history of Inter along with his family. However, we spoke on the phone and he apologised because that words did not reflect his real thoughts.

“Whoever knows me is aware of the strong bond I have for every team I coach. I give everything everywhere I go. Somebody leaves tired teams and players who have given all. I always leave young and improved players and united groups with a winning mentality.”

The former Juventus and Chelsea tactician also made clear he’s never based his decisions on money.

“The market sets the price, but had I been obsessed by money, I would have stayed where I was in the past. I would have accepted compromises and obtained new contracts.

“I look for the projects instead and I am ready to stay at home if something is not convincing me. It has to do with vision, honesty and principles.”

Conte had been in talks with Tottenham after leaving Inter. Although he was not specifically asked about negotiations with Spurs, the 51-year-old explained why he rejected offers that didn’t convince him.

“Generally, I like the challenges and I’ve accepted many of them during my career.

“Even the top clubs I coached were never the favourites when I arrived. However, if there’s something that doesn’t convince me I prefer not to accept regardless of the money.”

Conte also commented on Euro 2020 which begins tomorrow.

“Mancini is doing an extraordinary job, he created a great and united group which is not easy. It is the group that enhances the single player and his talent. Top players are not enough to win, unless they are called Pelé or Maradona.

“I hope Italy can go as far as possible, once we go beyond the group stage, we also need a bit of luck and anything can happen.”

But who are the favourites to win Euro 2020?

“France and Germany are in the first row, then Belgium, Spain, Portugal and England.”