Former Inter, Chelsea and Tottenham assistant manager Cristian Stellini explains how some of the Nerazzurri players have improved since his time there, while Antonio Conte ‘would’ve liked’ to have Marcus Thuram.

Stellini has for many years been the assistant to Conte and briefly took over at Tottenham in a caretaker role when the manager parted company with Spurs in March.

They also won the Serie A title together at Inter in 2021, but while Conte walked away claiming the squad could not step up to the next level, Simone Inzaghi took them to the Champions League Final.

“Where I see that Nicolò Barella has clearly improved is in his game management,” Stellini told TMW Radio.

“Before he was a player who ran hard, showed dynamism, but now he selects when and how to use those bursts of pace. He is more mature, has become a leader and can control his behaviour better.”

The biggest change that Inzaghi made was transforming Hakan Calhanoglu from a trequartista into a deep-lying playmaker, whereas before Conte had relied on Marcelo Brozovic in that role.

“I don’t know if Calhanoglu is more complete, but he certainly has different characteristics to Brozovic. I’d say Brozovic is more dynamic, whereas Calhanoglu is more vertical in his vision, can shoot from distance and makes the difference from set plays too.”

Whereas Inter won the Scudetto largely thanks to the dynamics between Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku, the current squad is getting far more goals out of the Argentine.

“Lautaro has certainly become more of a finisher and is far more decisive in attack. He has always been very good at playing for the other striker, and as a youngster played in the Number 10 role, but today he is far more consistent in his finishing,” added Stellini.

“Thuram is a player who combines physicality with good quality. He could score more, but has time to grow and mature. Conte would’ve liked to have Thuram in the squad, as he works hard for the team.”

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