After helping the club win its first Serie A title in over a decade, the 51-year-old left the Italian giants in a shocking move.
Opening up on Antonio Conte’s departure from the Serie A champions, Inter Milan president Steven Zhang admitted that “our different views led to the separation”. Conte brought an end to his two-year spell with Inter after leaving San Siro by mutual consent on May 26. He played a crucial role in helping the Nerazzurri regain supremacy in the Italian league, helping them win their first Scudetto in 11 years in the recently concluded season. The last time Inter won the league was in 2010 under Jose Mourinho. In that season the Portuguese also helped them win the Champions League and the Coppa Italia, thereby completing a mighty treble.
There were reports that Conte left the Inter job after being told that they need to cut costs by selling some players. Zhang has conceded that the pandemic has affected their revenues and emphasised that “we must reduce costs”. “From the first moment we took over Inter we thought that Conte would be the best coach for our project,” he told Gazzetta Dello Sport. “Two years ago we finally managed to bring him to the Nerazzurri.”
“I was and remain convinced that Conte is a winning coach: this is the reason that led us to invest so much in him and in the team in the last two years. Last summer the pandemic had greatly affected our revenues but we continued with him, focusing on the season convinced that we could win.
“The decision was right, but now the bill brought by the pandemic is such that we cannot fail to review the situation by looking for savings that lead to a future budget balance.”
While praising Conte as a “top coach”, Zhang asserted that he has “to think about the solidity of the club”. “We must reduce costs and control risks. This obviously also influences the transfer market strategy,” he added.
“Our different views on the situation led to the separation. What wasn’t fundamental for him, was for the club, and vice-versa. Conte is a top coach, but as president I have to think about the solidity of the club.”
Conte has been replaced by ex-Lazio boss Simeone Inzaghi in the Inter hot seat.