Conte keen to avoid ‘nasty surprises’ at Crotone as Inter eye title


Milan (AFP) – Antonio Conte has warned Inter Milan to avoid creating any “nasty surprises” as his side look to wrap up the Serie A title this weekend at Crotone.

Saturday’s match in Italy’s deep south pits the Serie A leaders, close to their first league crown since 2010, against the bottom team who will be relegated if they lose.

“I warned the team, we will need hunger and competitive malice to avoid nasty surprises,” Conte told a pre-match press conference on Friday. 

If Inter win and second-placed Atalanta fail to claim all three points at Sassuolo on Sunday, Inter will claim their 19th Serie A title with four games to go.

“We want to finish this season in the best possible way, which would be a work of art,” said the 51-year-old, who is looking to end the nine-year reign of his former team Juventus.

“We have had an extraordinary journey and now we are ready to conquer something historic. 

“We must have the utmost respect for Crotone, they will want to show that they deserve to stay in Serie A and there is no better opportunity to do it than against the team first in the standings.”

Before leaving for Crotone, the club’s Chinese president Steven Zhang met the team.

“There was a simple greeting since we hadn’t seen each other for some time,” said Conte.

“He wished us good luck also because the president knows very well that we have not yet achieved anything.

“When you approach a goal it is inevitable that waiting becomes something that you have to know how to manage.

“In this sense I say that Inter will have to play Inter tomorrow.

“In any case, everyone here knows that something extraordinary is about to be achieved this year.”

Inter’s most recent clash against Crotone was a 6-2 win earlier this season, with a Lautaro Martinez hat-trick and goals from Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi.

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