Second place means nothing to me, says Inter's Conte

Soccer Football - Serie A - Inter Milan v Fiorentina - San Siro, Milan, Italy - July 22, 2020 Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte reacts during the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo

MILAN (Reuters) - Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte says finishing second in Serie A would have no significance for him and would just mean that his team were “the first of the losers”.

“History is written by the winners, the others just go and read about it,” Conte said after his side were held 0-0 by Fiorentina on Thursday, keeping them third in Serie A.

“It’s important to get as high as we can and the lads know that. But if we’re talking about second place, I say it’s the first of the losers. There are those who are content with this, but it has no meaning for me.”

Inter have clinched their place in the Champions League next season while Juventus are all but certain to wrap up a ninth successive title.

“This year we have reaped less than we sowed and we are trying to work on the mentality and develop a killer-instinct, which a great team must have if it wants to fight for something important,” Conte said.

Conte also criticised speculation linking forward Lautaro Martinez with a move to Barcelona after the end of the season.

“It annoys me because they sew discord around him,” he said. “We’re talking about a 22-year-old boy who is establishing himself and has a path ahead of him.

“Clearly, he can alternate between positive and less positive moments in this phase. I am interested in him trying his best and giving everything he has.”

Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond