Scoring the winners against Cagliari and Hellas Verona this month, Matteo Darmian has proved himself as a key component in Inter’s historic path to the Scudetto.
Discussing his goals, the Italian fullback toldLa Gazzetta delo Sport
: “I think that in the team there are people who are much more used to scoring than I am. But if the goals arrive, the more the better.
“But even more important is earning the trust of the coach and my teammates.”
Closer than ever to their first Serie A title in a decade, the 31-year-old revealed the first game against Sassuolo felt like the turning point to their season.
“The win will be the most exciting hour,” Darmain said. “There are still some points missing, we hope to get them as soon as possible.
“This season has been progressing. But we knew from the start that we would have done well.
“Everything happened before and after Sassuolo, in the first round. It was a delicate match for us.
“We were leaving behind too many points on the road. Winning that Sunday was decisive for morale.
“If I think overall, the exit from the Champions League, however negative, instead of knocking us down, it charged us.”
He went on to hail Conte’s attitude in their title race with Milan, especially after they leapfrogged them.
“He was clear and firm: ‘Now they are behind’,” Darmian continued.
“He said: ‘Psychologically we have an advantage. It all depends on you. We don’t want to make the mistake of looking at the others’.
“And we did it.”
“We are professionals, we did what was right to do: we focused on our work,” he said. “And we became even more compact.”
About his dreams with the Azzurri, the former Manchester United star reveals he would love to be selected by Roberto Mancini for their upcoming Euro 2020.
That jersey is the highest ambition. I was lucky enough to play in a World Cup and a European Championship,” Darmian added.
“I’m here, I do my best. Then, let’s see…”
Darmian’s transfer to Inter was a reunion with his former Italy coach, Antonio Conte, and he insists it was a simple situation for him.
“It was as if I had never left him,” the defender revealed. “He’s fierce and has the same desire as then, to bring the team to the top.
“He has improved tactically and as a character.”
Comparing the iconic managers he has worked with, Darmian continued: “[Van Gaal] was a freak of the rules. He was the one who wanted me at United.
One of the first days in Manchester he took me aside and said: ‘You are here thanks to me. You have my confidence, you will fight with [Antonio] Valencia, know that for me the name doesn’t matter’.
“[Mourinho] has no other loves than to win. I owe him trophies, even a Europa League.”
“[Conte] has great ideas, tactically, he’s a step ahead.”
Despite winning the title race with Inter over his former side, Milan, Darmian insists he’s not looking for revenge.
“I can only speak well of Milan. I stayed there for 11 years, they made me a man,” he said. “Our paths separated because that Milan was a great team and I needed to play.”
And the word Scudetto for Darmian means: “Joy, the closing of a circle. To the guys who want to become footballers, I say: never abandon your dream, never lose your smile even in the face of sacrifices, which are also necessary.”