Samir Handanovic has said the demands Antonio Conte has set on his new Inter side are the main difference in the club’s impressive start to Serie A this season.
Inter currently sit top of the table this term, with Juventus’ domination of Italian football showing signs of wavering having lifted the title in each of the last eight campaigns.
A resurgence from the Nerazzurri has coincided with the appointment of Conte, who took over the club in the summer following the sacking of Luciano Spalletti at the end of the 2018/19 season. Just one defeat in their opening 17 league games has seen Inter sit above Juventus on goals difference, and captain Handanovic has hailed the influence of the new man in the dugout for their improved form.
“I understood why he makes a difference: what I like about him is that before he demands a lot from others, he demands a lot from himself,” he told Sky Sport Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio.
Despite performing admirably domestically, Inter failed to successfully navigate their way through their Champions League group, finishing third behind Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund in the aptly named ‘group of death’. That placed them in this season’s Europa League, where they face Ludogorets in the round of 32.
Nevertheless, Handanovic insisted he was ‘proud’ of the group’s application this season, taking on new ideas from their manager, but still leaving the door open for improvements in the future.
“I’m proud of this group that started out six months ago in China with a new manager and philosophy,” he added.
“We took significant steps forward and we still have a lot of margin for improvement. But more importantly the group moves forward together and only thinks of one thing. Being the captain of this group is a responsibility that I’m proud of.”