MILAN (AP) – The man who started Juventus’ unprecedented era of dominance could end it this weekend. Antonio Conte, a lifelong Juventus fan and former coach and player, could wrest the Serie A title from the nine-time defending Italian champions and bring it to .
in more than a decade if it beats last-place Crotone on Saturday and second-place Atalanta fails to beat Sassuolo the following day.
“We’re 95% of the way towards the Scudetto,” said Conte, who led Juventus to the first three of its nine straight Serie A titles.
That was a significant admission in the often superstitious soccer world, where title talk is mainly taboo until mathematically certain.
“I’m not superstitious,” Conte said. “I’ve been talking about the Scudetto everof me, and a coach at my level can never be satisfied.
“However, it’s clear that you need to have a sense of proportion. In the beginning, I mentioned the figure of 1%. It was important to start from that small percentage and increase it whiletogether.”
Conte arrived at Inter in 2019 and came close threefor a trophy in his first season in charge. The club finished a point behind Juventus in Serie A and lost the to Sevilla. The Nerazzurri also lost in the Italian Cup semifinals to eventual champion Napoli.
“We’ve worked a lot in the past two years, not just from a soccer perspective,” Conte said. “We’ve really focused on the mental side of things because since Inter has been competitive.
“We had a good go last year, reaching thefinal and finished second in the league, and we’re having another go this time.” Coming so close hurt, and before this season started, Inter players talked about using that pain to drive them to success.
“We lost a final, and this galvanized us within,” Inter midfielder Nicolò Barella said. “Together with the coach and club, we transformed the experience into something positive., we’re in the position we wanted to be in.”
Inter last won the league in 2010, under José Mourinho, thetitle, and the Italian Cup. It retained the domestic cup the following year.
“We’re close to a fundamental objective,” Conte said. “The guys know that a confident attitude is required to win. Work, sacrifice, and determination are all needed.
“You… In the end, however, the players can understand that the path that has been taken is the right one, and they have complete trust in the person who’s leading them.”