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Conte: I Cannot Turn Ducklings Into Swans

Inter Manager Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte insists he can’t turn ‘ducklings into swans’ after his Inter Milan side drew with Slavia Prague in their Champions League opener.

Inter Milan required an injury-time equaliser from Nicolo Barella to earn a 1-1 draw on Tuesday.

Barella volleyed in the rebound after a free-kick from Stefano Sensi hit the crossbar.

Slavia’s 23-year-old striker Peter Olayinka was dangerous throughout and put the visitors ahead shortly after the hour mark by turning in a rebound from close range.

Conte believes he needs time to turn Inter into a strong team this campaign.

‘Slavia beat us in terms of intensity, determination, pace,’ Conte said. ‘We showed nothing of our ideas of football. You seem to think I arrive here, touch and the ducklings turn into swans. There’s a lot of work to do and we need to improve. That was not our football.

‘When I say we shouldn’t let ourselves get swept up in enthusiasm, I mean it. I am here to help these lads improve, so put the blame on me.

‘I refuse to talk about individuals, because we were all below par today, starting from me. I am the first onto the naughty step, the main dunce.

‘I generally hate the long ball and run routine, as that is not our football, but that’s what we largely did today. It wasn’t the plan. Slavia certainly played in a very European way, aggressive and with intensity.

‘We didn’t do well to find solutions and get around that. In other games, we were up against sides who sat back and waited for us, whereas Slavia attacked us. We struggled and, to be honest, I am not satisfied with the performance.

‘I must be the first to take responsibility, because evidently I didn’t have the effect I wanted in my initial choices or in explaining the kind of match we were going into.

‘We could’ve done far better. This is not the kind of football we are training to play. We’ve got to improve in terms of character, too. But when I talk about a growth process, that comes from playing in games like this as well.’

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